When Spam Brings $1 Million Dollars

Hormel Foods and its SPAM® brand have made a product donation to support the efforts on Maui. Three truckloads of SPAM® products are on their way to the impacted areas with two more trucks following – totaling over 264,000 cans.

(Some people may make jokes about them sending cans of Spam, but… Residents of the state of Hawaii have the highest per capita consumption in the United States, bringing in sales of 7 million cans of SPAM per year. Its perception there is very different from on the mainland. Hawaiians sometimes call it “Portagee Steak”.)

In all, the SPAM® brand has donated cash and product with a retail value of more than $1,000,000 to directly help those impacted by the wildfires. The brand has also created a specially designed SPAM® Brand Loves Maui” T-shirt available on SPAM.com, with 100% of proceeds to be donated to Aloha United Way’s Maui Fire Relief Fund for relief efforts in the area. The T-shirts can be ordered here. Additionally, Hormel Foods team members are also raising money to donate to the local area food bank, with a match from Hormel Foods.

So, thanks to Hormel Foods!

When I was a kid, I loved bacon & toast sandwiches. [with mustard / mayo] If we had no bacon, mom sliced Spam really thin and fried it. I still made that when adult.

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If you look into the demographics of the places that are big consumers of canned meats, like spam and bully beef, you’ll find many have large populations of people with current or recent subsistence lifestyles. It’s a good source of fats and protein and was introduced to those places by early western traders and has since become part of their food cultures.

The trend carries all over the South Pacific and even Alaska, which is the #2 US state per-capita consumer of Spam.

Hormel suggests that Hawaiis love of Spam came from World War II when servicemen were served the luncheon meat. Hawaii was an ‘outpost’ or sorts, being so far from neighbors like the mainland. That meant they they were pretty much on their own for supplies for quite some time.

Supplies were limited and there was concern of local resources being taken away. A less known fact was that when Pearl Harbor was bombed, the Government was worried that if Japan took over the islands, they would use what money that was here could be used against the U.S. Thus became the “HAWAII” stamp on all currency. If the islands were taken over, the U.S. would not honor HAWAII dollars.


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My father hated spam. Too many meals in WWII. One time my mother bought some and fried slices. My brother and I liked it. My father wouldn’t touch it. He never complained to my mother, though.

HOWEVER, when he was visiting once, i made him an omelet for breakfast. I thought I was doing something special for him. He was really angry, and complained bitterly that he hated omelets…that was all they ever got to eat during WWII. Before every bombing mission, and again afterwards. He apologized to me a few hours later, but it was memorable. He NEVER acted like that!

Either spam wasn’t as bad as an omelet, or he was better at controlling his anger with my mother (they never fought).

My dad hated tomatoes and anything related like ketchup. Growing up on a small farm, his mother would smother everything in tomatoes or ketchup.

During the Depression, he got free bread in the bread lines but it stale and rock hard. The only solution was to soak it in ketchup,

He said somehow ketchup had followed him but he sure wouldn’t have it in our house. Of course we whiney kids wanted it but he ordered “none at his end of the table”

It was a running family joke for decades.

You can take a small saucepan with water in it and bring to a boil. Place a collender or screen over the pan and place the bread on top. The steam re-moistens the bread.

Then again, didn’t Ron Popiel sell a ‘Bread Rejuvinator’. It adds back the moisture, removes the crust and slices the bread. Available at Woolworths, Woolco, G.C. Murphy, Best and company and Montgomery Wards. And… it realy, realy works!

By the way, I really don’t like Spam, BUT I do love Taylors Pork Roll from New Jersey! I even ordered 6 pounds of it to be delivered to me in Hawaii, It came Fedex with cold packs!

Reminds me of our family dinners in the 1950s with the main (and only) course of bread and canned tomatoes. My wife can recall her family’s 1960’s main course meals of bread, milk and onions… yuck!

We both came from very meager beginnings.

My folks grew up during the deoression, but both my grandmothers raised chickens and had gardens. Food was never really a huge issue; I am sure there were some foods that were difficult to come by, especially for my mother’s family, but other things were is shorter supply. I dont think the food available was monotonous. My mother’s family lived with her grandparents, and I think there was some dignity that was sacrificed on her parents part. My father’s parents were in a stronger financial situation, and supported a couple of Papa’s cousins, and provided work for a number of men in Granddaddy’s congregation. Papa milked the neighbor’s cow in exchange for milk for the family.

Luckily, if we want to grow things, we can. Most everything grows here with a few exceptions like Apples which need a cold snap. We have cold here but is is constant. The temperatue differace at 1,000 feet is 85 day and 70 at night during the summer and 80 day and 65 night during the winter. By going down 1,000 feet in altitude the temp goes up. We do get snow and blizzards.

I currently gro coffee (because why would you want to have to BUY it…), and citrus like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, tangerines and then some exotic things like coconut, mangos, bananna, cinnamon, allspice, mountain apple (like a juicy pear), rollinia, sapodilla, sapote, star fruit, hot peppers, bananas and curry leaf. My Sisters are growing snap peas (or are they green beans?) pineapples, a variety of blueberry, finger limes and mamaki for tea.

We have perhaps 50 or 100 varieties of avocado and many varieties of bananas which must be eaten locally as they don’t ship well. We also have lyche and rambutan and other fruits and berries here.

If you don’t grow everything you want, you can always trade with neighbors. I have eating oranges and my neighbor has juicing oranges (actully the juice come out like a bathtub faucet). I have never seen such juicy oranges in my life.

Granted, not everyone on the islands have space to grow tmuch, but you should know that over here on the Big Island, it is not unusual to see boxes of fruit on the counter outside our Post Office, free for the taking. It is also not unusual to see mangos and even breadfruit lying on the ground along the side of the road where it has fallen from the trees. MY neighbor three doors up grows tilapia and vegetables in aquaponic tanks.

There are many fish able to be caught just off shore. Snapper, Ono, Mahi Mahi, swordfish (billfish) and yes, even tuna just waiting for a fisherman to stop on by.

And then there is the Spam :slight_smile:

Hey Lavarock… know anybody that grows vanilla? We have some friends in the Cook Islands who planted some a while back and now they have a pretty good business selling the finished product in Rarotonga. The stuff stateside is like like liquid gold and tourists buy all they can supply.

We like the little lady-finger bananas that most Pacific Islands have all over. And spend our time looking for ripe wild papaya that grow everywhere in the tropical South Pacific.

Many tropical fruits in the Pacific Islands vary in size and flavor with the particular island they come from, especially with mangoes.

There are at least 2 vanilla farms on my island, just search for “Big Island Vanilla Farm”. Vanilla can be expensive because a) it is an orchid and b) it has to be manually pollinated and c) is difficult to grow.

My neighbors created the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory because when they bought their farm the agent mentioned some cacau plants. When asked what they were good for, the agent said chocolate.

So lets see, chocolate, pineapples, macadamia nuts, coconut, sugar cane, coffee… and people wonder why it is called ‘Paradise’.

I see where we are asking people to come visit Maui again, just not the Lahaina area. They depend so much on tourism.

We have a weekly cruise ship “Pride of America” that visits our ports but they had to avoid Maui for now, so Hilo on the Big Island gets an overnight stay so visitors get two days there. I guess that means more visitors to Hawaii Volcanos National Park. Maybe some will also visit the rainforest zoo where we have 2 Bengal tigers in residence.

I see where there are some cruis ship repositions. Where we have had just one or two cruise ship in Kona a week, we will be having many over the next three months. My organization welcomes visitors at the Kona pier with Hawaiian music, some hula and historical storytelling.