Spam Haiku

War’s consequences –

Legions lay dead, countries razed.

Canned meat conquers world.

Spam was unleashed onto an unsuspecting market by the Hormel Corporation 81 years ago today. Then World War II happened, which was the best thing that could have happened for this scrappy little canned meat.

The US Armed Forces during World War II numbered over 16 million people, flung all over the danged place. All of them had to be fed, but given logistics, they had to be fed with something that would keep. Enter… Spam! 150 million pounds of the stuff. And the soldiers would use every part of the Spam, using the grease for their guns and the collecting the tins for scrap. So ecological. Spam was also exported as aid to the UK and the Soviet Union.

After war’s end, the American military was still stationed everywhere and they were still being fed Spam. Naturally, the locals got a hold of it – in Okinawa, the Philippines, assorted US territories (Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico), and… Korea!

South Korea was in bad shape after the Korean War. People had to hustle for their meals, and if that meant scrounging Spam from the Americans via the black market, they were going to do it. This lead to the creation of 부대찌개 (army base stew), a popular stew made from spam and pretty much everything else. (Like baked beans, tofu, ramen, American cheese, Vienna sausage, etc etc etc.) Popular, and secretly badass, as during Park Chung-hee’s reign, you could be executed for Spam smuggling.

Now you can buy it in fancy gift sets to give to your family for the major holidays. There is no better way to show your love.

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