Sunday, November 16, 2008

Spamsilog

That is how it is called locally. For a little over $1.42 one is served up with slices of fried-pink Spam (the genuine, the original), egg over easy, and a cupful of garlic rice, and finally topped with a little refreshment of iced tea.

For many Filipinos a breakfast of this sort has been traditional fare as far as I can remember, believe it from a proud somebody who used to be called “Spam” boy by a now dead cousin as fitting tribute to my uncanny ability as a kid to consume a whole can in one sitting. A satisfactory start of a nice morning would have been after a hearty meal of fried rice, eggs cooked in lard, and crispy fried Spam slices.

So this new local eating place breaks new ground by reminding patrons about this once popular menu, by now offering this breakfast selection as one of the tempting choices of other traditional breakfast fare such as smoked fish, longanisa, and tapa, the last two being sausages and smoked beef.

We knew even then given the unlikely, or maybe even unseemly, origins of Spam, that Westerners looked with askance at this staple. After all, Spam became famous as part of GI ration during WWII. Invented and marketed by a Hormel heir precisely for “hard times”. During war or before that during hard economic times like the Great Depression. The poor man’s choice of a meal.

With the now unraveling of the global economy with even more and harder times being forecasted, what should come to the rescue?

The lowly Spam, originating from one of Hormel’s factories in Austin, Minn. Production has never been better and at a more furious pace, with employees doing double shifts or overtime work to keep up with the increased demand.

And unlike the Spam of old, one can now pick one’s favorite from an adequate selection – such as Spam Low Sodium, Spam with Cheese and Spam Hot & Spicy. And don’t you know you can also buy Spam retail – that is, packed as one slice per plastic wrapper? Averaging under $2 per can, imagine how much one slice would cost.

Thus, while the bad economic times have re-introduced this food for hard times, the Filipinos never entertained any such low regard for this product. Good or hard economic times will always be a happy time for Spam – especially for breakfast. Thus, while Westerners may derisively refer to junk email as Spam, no such dark thought lurks in the Filipino psyche.

What about Spam dipped in a batter of beaten eggs before frying and cooked in good old very hot lard?

Oh, sizzlingly yummy!

2 comments:

  1. Filipinos and food, I think you guys would rather eat and talk of repast than anything else. I have an aversion to eating around people. I hate watching people eat. I don't want anyone seeing me do it. To me, the process of eating is only a little less disgusting than what happens at the other end of the process. I know; I'm strange that way.

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  2. Phil, I share your aversion to food other than to satisfy hunger or some visceral craving. Beyond that, I am quite indifferent to it.

    But Spam I can take anytime, and maybe chicken ham, especially those made here locally.

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