The cheaper version of SPAM – Holiday Luncheon Meat
Apparently there is cult following of ‘luncheon meat’ lovers. A coworker was telling me yesterday about how her friend (a twenty-something woman) entered a SPAM recipe contest and won. According to Wikipedia, on average 3.8 cans of SPAM are consumed every second in the United States. Burger King and McDonald’s in Hawaii both feature SPAM on their menu. When fresh meat is unavailable or there is economic hardship, canned meat products are a cheap and easy way to get protein.
Before yesterday, I had never tried meat from a can. I probably never will again. From the first whiff of processed meat and fish (why does it smell like fish?) as I tried to open the can of Holiday Luncheon Meat, to the moment I threw it out in a separate garbage bag to get rid of some of the lingering smell that hung in my kitchen, it was not my favourite experience. I am actually still gagging a bit now, just thinking of it.
I had a hard time opening the can in the first place. When I finally did, it looked so unreal – like really bad dog food. Why is it so pink? I’m starting to gag. My belly is doing flips. I cut off a slice. I decide to smell it before I taste it which was a very bad idea. I still can’t figure out why it smells like rotting fish. I had to close my eyes and not think of what I was eating. I ate a whole slice. It tasted like bologna gone bad with a spongey, rubbery texture. I wonder if there’s a reason why I think of the beef stomach lining I ate on Friday when I tasted this… It left a greasy film on my fingers, the knife and anything else it came in contact with. Maybe it would be better cooked?
The ingredients: Mechanically separated meats (chicken and/or pork), pork, water, wheat flour, potato starch, salt, sugar, monosodium glutamate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrate, spices, smoke. ”Mechanically separated chicken and/or pork” – yum!
I can see the slab of meat start to sweat in the heat of my kitchen. The smell is overwhelming. That’s enough of Holiday Luncheon Meat for me – it’s going in the garbage. I will not be one of 3.8 cans consumed during this second!