The Book of SPAM: a SPAM-TASTIC Guide to Absolutely Everything Related to SPAM!

Quick: what's a product that's found in 99% of all supermarkets in the US, sells about 80 million pounds every year, has a 20,000 member-strong fan club, its own museum, and even its own Broadway musical? It's SPAM, of course!

Since its creation in 1937 by Jay Hormel, a former army quartermaster during WWI (see? Hormel was a real guy!), SPAM has not only impacted the culinary world as a food product - it has also become a pop culture sensation: it has been the subject of a Monty Python comedy sketch, countless movie references and fan-made artworks. The all lower-case variation of the product's name ("spam") has even entered the English lexicon as a term for unsolicited emails (yes, an unflattering term, but there's no such thing as bad publicity.)

Sooner or later, any good pop culture sensation needs a definitive guide (and a Neatorama post and free giveaway ... more on that later). For SPAM, it comes just in time for its 70th anniversary, in the form of this fun and richly illustrated book by Dan Armstrong and Dustin Black: The Book of SPAM.

Whether you love SPAM or not, there's no arguing that this book is pretty neat. Billed as "a most glorious and definitive compendium of the world's favorite canned meat," The Book of SPAM outlines how SPAM came into being, what exactly the product is made from, and even its patriotic role in World War II.

The book has a chapter dedicated to the SPAMMOBILE, a strange oblong vehicle shaped and painted like the rectangular can of SPAM, which sole purpose is to travel the United States of America ... giving away free samples of SPAM! The book even has a funny tongue-in-cheek comparison between the SPAMMOBILE and the Popemobile (you'd just have to get a hold of the book and find out yourself!)


SPAMMOBILE. Image: uberculture [Flickr]

Another neat chapter is the coverage of SPAM JAMs, a festival and celebration of everything SPAM held in Minnesota, Hawaii, and Texas every year (complete with a SPAM queen!)

There's so much more that can be written about The Book of SPAM, but let's pick a selection of trivia and neat excerpts that exemplifies the book:












SPAM Label Designs

Show Your SPAM Creativity Contest

Now onto something SPAM-TASTIC: Thanks to Simon & Schuster, we have 20 copies of The Book of SPAM to give away. It's no secret that SPAM lovers are a creative bunch who make a lot of artwork featuring the meat-tastic icon.

So, for this contest, you get to share your SPAM creativity with the world: tell us your best SPAM poem, haiku, limeric, joke (clean and nice ones, please!), artwork, illustrations, favorite SPAM memory - anything! Submit your entry in the comment section - one entry per comment, please, but you can enter as many times as you'd like. Best entry will win a free The Book of SPAM (one per submitter).

Be sure to visit these links for inspiration: The Book of SPAM [Flash, audio], blog and even YouTube clips collection (Don't miss the SPAManetics spoof ads!)

The review above as well as the giveaway are sponsored by Simon & Schuster. No SPAM was hurt in the making of this review.



Update 11/4/07 - Thank you for playing guys! I've notified the lucky winners by email.

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An Ode to Spam in the Style of Seuss

Do you like Fried Rice and Spam?

Would you? Could you? In a wok?

Would you like them gently tossed?

Would you like them with fish sauce?

Would you like them cut up silly?

Would you like them with fried chilli?

Would you eat ‘em with a spork?

Would you eat ‘em with with roast pork?

You may like them, they’re not obscene

You may like them in chow mien.

Eat them! Eat them! There they are!

Eat them! Eat them! Be a Spam superstar!
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During my freshman year of college, I started a club called the SPAM Alliance. At our peak, we had about 20 members. We were officially recognized by the college, and even listed one year in the school's promotional materials! We had a budget of $150 a year to make dishes featuring SPAM.
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A staple of my many caving expeditions during the college years was Spam and rice. How else could you get a tasty, tasty meal filled with protein and carbs when you're underground, wet, dusty, and famished? I would fire up my MSR stove and soon the cave would be filled with the familiar smell of browning luncheon meat. Made me a popular guy when my buds realized their protein bars no longer made the cut.
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True: A friend and I threw a fantastic Trailer Trash Party this weekend. Although my entry of Velveeta Mac with Hot n Spicy Spam chunks didn't win, we did gift the Best Trash Cookin' winner (w/ taco-flavored Tater Tot Casser-Ole')with a 70th Anniversary collectible SPAM -- which made her the envy of the crowd!
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