Love it or hate it, Spam has been a part of American culture since World War II and it’s not going anywhere. For every group of people that can’t stand Spam, there is another camp that is obsessed with the stuff to an almost cult-like degree. Since Spam is kind of a mystery to us, here are some little-known facts about the remarkable canned good.

Spam launched by Hormel on July 5, 1937, which was during the Great Depression. The tinned product has thrived during hard economic times as shelf-stable, affordable meat, and its sales rose again during the most recent recession.

According to the Spam website, 8 billion cans of Spam have been sold worldwide since it first burst onto the scene.

One reason Spam was sometimes called “mystery meat” was that people didn’t know the meaning of the acronym. Some theories include a mashup of the words “Spiced Ham” or “Shoulders of Pork and Ham.” Others joked and thought Spam could stand for “Something Posing as Meat” or “Specifically Processed Artificial Meat.” We will probably never find out the real answer because there are only a few past executives from Hormel that actually know.

The official Spam museum is located in Austin, Minnesota. Like any museum, there are specialists who lead tours. At the Spam museum, these people are called “Spambassadors,” and they can recite the entire Hormel history by memory. The museum also features an exhibit where you can pack and seal a can of Spam yourself and rooms for live cooking demos.

Spam may not get a ton of love on the U.S. mainland, but in Hawaii, the maligned meat is mega-popular.

You’ll find Spam served with eggs and rice for breakfast, all day as Spam musubi (basically Spam sushi), and in many, many other forms. There’s even a black market for Spam during tough times, according to this Washington Post report.

South Koreans also love Spam and have elevated it to a “luxury” level. It is a holiday gift item and is eaten in a popular spicy soup called “military stew,” or budae jjigae.

Spam’s ingredients are put into the can uncooked, vacuum-sealed and then sent along a conveyor belt to be cooked while in the can. While you could eat finished Spam straight out of the can, we think it tastes much better hot.

If there’s one thing you should know about Hormel, it’s that they take their advertising very seriously. After World War II, the company launched a huge campaign for Spam in the hopes of keeping the meat alive post-war. Hormel put together a troupe of female performers called the “Hormel Girls,” who traveled the country promoting the product. At its peak, this group featured over 60 women accompanied by a live orchestra and their own radio show to boot.

Spam lovers have plenty of opportunities to celebrate their beloved meat products. There are Spam festivals, Spam recipe contests, and yes, even a free Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota. They even give out free sample bites, called Spamples!

Watch the video below for more details:

Source: AWM

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