Happy 80th Birthday to (the Original) Spam

Still going strong, the mottled meat debuted in 1937
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2017 3:47 AM CDT
'Everyone's Favorite' Canned Meat Turns 80
Cans of Spam line the shelves at a store in Berlin, Vt.   (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

American soldiers gobbled up more than 100 million pounds of it during WWII, and a tableful of Monty Python Vikings sang its praises. Although its origins are humble and its nutritional content dubious, Spam is going strong on its 80th birthday. More than 8 billion cans of the pink loaf have been sold, and presumably eaten, since Hormel introduced Spam in July 1937, Live Science reports. The little blue cans went global when the army shipped troops overseas, and Spam even sustained hungry Russian troops. Despite many jokes, "it tasted good, nonetheless," former Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev once wrote, per Time. Civilians appreciated the low price and extended shelf-life, and didn't seem to mind the vague "kinda like ham" taste.

Ham is, thankfully, one of only six ingredients that also include salt—a lot of it. A regular can packs a mouth-puckering 4,696mg of sodium, plus 100 grams of fat, and 1,000-plus calories, per the Evening Standard. "Farm-sourced" and "organic" may be all the foodie rage today, but 44,000 cans of Spam are produced very hour. The Standard compiles other fun facts about "everyone's favorite" mottled meat, including the root of its name: Sizzle, pork, and mmmm. In Hawaii, Spam is "literally all around you," one chef tells NBC News. Another fan who serves "Spam sliders" from her food truck calls it the "perfect luncheon meat … it's salty, a little sweet." As for Spam's transmogrification from meal into junk email, the Standard speculates that that dates back to that famous 1970 Python sketch. (Here are more reasons to like Spam.)

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