I was really disturbed one morning last week while watching CBC Newsworld. During one of the business segments, there was a story about how, since food prices are rising and incomes are not, SPAM is becoming more and more common on the shopping lists of those trying to stretch their food budgets as much as possible.
Yahoo has a fuller account here.
My first response was, Eeeeeeewwwwww! SPAM is like totally gross! I think I had SPAM once or twice as a little kid, probably on a camping trip. If it was anything like canned corned beef, which we had quite a big of growing up, it was totally repulsive.
Then the sadness settled in.
I live on a small income, and I get by. And I don't eat a ton of processed, chemical-filled, unidentifiable foods, either. I manage to eat healthy whole foods, with the occasional junky binge here and there. My cupboards are not full of KD and ramen and I don't subsist on tuna casserole of Chef Boyardee. I certainly avoid SPAM and most canned meats like the plague (once in a while I do crack open a tin of tuna or a tin of salmon).
Sure, SPAM is cheap, but let's take a look at the nutritional information, which I gleaned from Wikipedia (such info is irritating to come by on the SPAM web site, which is one of the most annoying, absurd sites I have ever had the misfortune of directing my browser to):
1 serving = 2oz/56g: 7g protein, 2g carbohydrates, 15g fat (including 6g saturated fat), 170 calories, and nearly 1/3 of the daily recommended intake of salt
The labeled ingredients are: chopped pork shoulder meat with ham meat added, salt, water, sugar, and sodium nitrite to help keep its color.
Historically, it was widely used during WWII when rationing was on. Since then, it's become quite the legend. There is a collection of SPAM cookbooks.
But so what? Apart from price, there are absolutely no redeeming qualities about this product at all!
Surely the $2.50 - $3 a can of SPAM costs nowadays could be better spent. A dozen eggs would be a far better source of protein and nutrients, is far more versatile, and would go much farther on a small budget. There are other much healthier food choices out there than purchasing a can of SPAM for dinner. Really. Really.