Taste: SPAM is the star of American-Japanese hybrid from Hawaii


Katherine Grandstrand, Aberdeen News (SD)

Oct 13, 2020


SPAM gets a bad rep.


Often treated as some kind of mystery meat, this 20th century marvel has helped a lot of people during hard times.


It was developed by Hormel Foods in neighboring Minnesota during the Great Depression and made its debut on grocery store shelves in 1937.


Austin, Minn., has dubbed itself Spamtown, USA, and is very proud to be home this canned meat.


SPAM isn’t mystery meat — it’s ground pork and ham, salt, water, potato starch, sugar and sodium nitrite — but it still isn’t an every day food.


Its original recipe has a good dose of sodium and fat — about a third of what the average person needs of each, daily, per the nutrition label.


It became ultra popular in Hawaii during World War II, when GIs from the mainland brought it over, according to Hormel Foods.


And that’s why SPAM musubi is kind of a perfect East-meets-West food.


Born in the Midwest, this canned meat travels well. Halfway between Austin, Minn., and Tokyo, the Hawaiian Islands are the perfect place to mix this very American meat with traditional Japanese food.


I first learned about musubi by watching “Girl Meets Farm” on the Food Network. Cooking shows are a great way to learn about new foods and learn techniques.


Personally, I’m not great at visualizing written directions, so thank goodness for TV and YouTube.


One thing that can be a little daunting learning about new foods is finding new ingredients, especially in a small town in the Upper Midwest. But I found all the ingredients right here in Aberdeen...