But how can that be done? Well, there’s obviously only one way you can literally spread SPAM® or other luncheon meat on rice, crackers, or anything else for that matter, and that would be to mince, grind, or process this infamous brick-shaped semi-solid mass of processed mystery into a spreadable, Pâté-like consistency. Or simply buy this stuff here aptly named SPAM® Spread, where it’s already done for you in a convenient, ready-to-serve, no heating necessary, easy-to-tote little tin can.
Just by the sound of it, why in God’s name one would desire this other than as a last-hope survival ration is beyond me. Yet the good (or evil, depending how you view it) folks at Libby’s – and now Hormel – continue to make it a marketable concept. To which Libby’s has been selling their take on it for decades now.
You may or may not have seen SPAM® Spread before, but this is relatively new to me. The way it came across my radar screen was, several months ago, someone we knew was moving off-island and gave us a bunch of stuff in their pantry they didn’t wanna’ pack away, including this. Which isn’t that surprising it wasn’t as of yet consumed by them. Then it ended up sitting in the back of our pantry… until now since we overhauled our hale this past weekend to start fresh for the new year.
So I figured what the heck, might as well check it out and make use of it. Besides, as far as I could find, currently there isn’t much coverage online on this still-elusive SPAM® offspring. Therefore, by golly, it’s about time we find out what this is all about!
Could Hormel’s SPAM® Spread be to SPAM® Classic canned luncheon meat be what the Apple iPod Touch is to the iMac or Mac Mini computer? An even more compact and convenient, sleek, more tangible, “just about everything its bigger brother can do, and perhaps other things big brother can’t” incarnation of the same thing?
Probably the first serious technical question one must ask is, is this basically a deconstructed version of its “fully-assembled” namesake?
To answer that, First let’s analyze what’s in a standard 12 oz. can of SPAM® Classic; the ingredients on the label are listed as: Pork with Ham, Salt, Water, Modified Potato Starch, Sugar and Sodium Nitrite.
Wow. There’s less ingredients in SPAM® than there is in a typical link of island style Portuguese Sausage. Barely mystery meat at all in comparison.
Now for this much smaller, 3 oz. can of SPAM® Spread, the ingredients on the label are listed as: Pork, Mechanically Separated Chicken, Ham, Salt, Sugar, Water, Spices, Sodium Nitrite.
Oh, now they’re throwin’ chicken in and pulling some spicy left curves on us. Based on ingredients alone, the answer would have to be NO, this is not a deconstructed variation of SPAM® Classic. So how can it be named SPAM if that’s the case? Now not only will this have a different texture, but possibly an entirely different flavor. Be afraid. Be VERY afraid.
On the back of the SPAM® Spread can is the nutritional information, which says each 4 tablespoon serving rewards you with 140 calories (110 fat calories), 12 grams total fat, 40 milligrams cholesterol and 570 milligrams of sodium.
While I was disappointed it says it provides absolutely ZERO the daily percentage value of vitamin A, C, or calcium, at least it does provide you with 2% iron and 8 grams of protien, taking some guilty weight off our shoulder.
Also a relief is that it’s stamped as being U.S. inpsected by the department of agriculture. But don’t breath a sigh of relief yet. The label states it’s DISTRIBUTED BY HORMEL FOODS CORPORATION, strategically leaving out where it’s MADE. Hmm…. another mystery to be solved, but I won’t ponder too much on that for the moment.
Ready to go into active military duty, the label on back also states SPAM® Spread is FULLY COOKED READY TO EAT – COLD OR HOT.
OK, enough with the technicalities. You’re probably just as anxious to see what’s under the lid as I am. Or are you?
Well, here it goes (eyes squinting behind safety glasses while wearing lead-lined gloves)…
Good Lord! I think my Geiger Counter just redlined and the neighbor’s dog just barked. No, howled. lol Actually, that kinda’ looks like FANCY FEAST cat food, don’t it? More on that later.
Before we get to tasting it, hold on a sec’. No, make that several minutes, as I am in no rush whatsoever to try it!
Continuing from the last brand A vs. brand x Clam Chowder entry, I have another product to compare this with: while shopping for fresh shrimp at the grocery store the other day (for a foll0w-up project related to this), I spotted this can of Libby’s Potted Meat Food Product…
Between the two brands, I’m not sure which label’s more frightening: the picture of the sandwich on the SPAM® Spread, or just the SOUND of the name itself on this here Libby’s lil’ mystery can: “POTTED MEAT FOOD PRODUCT”. I mean, shouldn’t only plants be “potted”? Are there roots growing under the stuff inside that we don’t (and should) know about? And why add “FOOD PRODUCT” into the description? Is that how much psychological reinforcement one might need upon opening the can, lest they think the stuff might be intended to be used as plant fertilizer, and not considered edible by humans? lol
Actually, they both SOUND horrifying, so points go to Libby’s for sparing us (and browsing grocery shoppers) a God-forbidden photo of what it looks like on the label. lol
Is there even enough content in one 3 oz. can to adequately fill an entire sandwich like the one depicted on the SPAM® Spread label? If you look at it closely, their (protocol) attempt-t0-be photogenic, highly-stylized example is piled high with the stuff. Whether you really WANT that much SPAM® Spread in your sandwich is another question.
The ingredients for this 3 oz. can of Libby’s Potted Meat Food Product (what a name) are: Mechanically separated chicken, pork skin, partially defatted cooked pork fatty tissue, partially defatted cooked beef fatty tissue, vinegar, less than 2% of: salt, spices, sugar, flavorings, sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrate.
Oh my. Sometimes the less you know, the better. lol
OK, now squint your eyes again, and perhaps get ready to hold your nostrils closed. Here’s what’s under the lid of the Libby’s Potted Meat Food Product can…
Holy moly! I think my Geiger Counter just blew a circuit, and now the neighbor’s dog is right here sniffing at the opening under my front door. lol
O.K., am I ready to taste them now? The question to ask really is more like, am I WILLING to taste them now? Or ever? Would you?
After psyching myself out listening to Anthony Robbins’ motivational audio CDs 20 times over and over, I think I am. I’m envisioning what lies within these tiny tin outer shells are the culinary equivalent of beautiful both inside and out Gwyneth Paltrow in the film Shallow Hal. And don’t you dare say “Shallow Hal needs a Gal!” before I’m about to dig into it! lol
My first trial method is simply a finger-swipe straight-up off a small spoonful, plain, as is, straight outta’ the room temperature can, unheated (it’s fully cooked), without anything else.
After under hypnosis overcoming the fact it kinda’ looks and smells like Fancy Feast cat food, The SPAM® Spread still barely resembles its classic namesake in flavor, if not for just a little bit of “hammy-porkyness” to it. Mostly it’s very SALTY. Very, very salty considering its small volume, while it also has a hint of that deviled food “mystery meat” aftertaste to it.
Not being hypnotized, my sister said it smelled like cat food and upon tasting it, thought it tasted like what cat food might taste like.
For me, I think it’s just another one of those foods you need to acclimate your palate to. Kinda’ like Balut. Or Britney Spears.
After a couple small swobs on my tongue, it sort of grew on me, perhaps in a Meow Mix kinda’ way. But seriously, unless you’re you’re one of those “think outside the box” types in how your brain connects with your taste buds (I’m kinda’ like that), you’ll probably take offense to SPAM Spread as is, straight outta’ the can. And I’ll say it again, the smell alone does not help it.
While it might not be fair to compare uncooked SPAM Spread with a slice of SPAM Classic, which is always served at least fried (I’ve never eaten SPAM Classic straight out of the can uncooked), at least I’m trying it in one way this can says you can serve it, which is unheated as a spread like this.
Now for the Libby’s Potted Meat Food Product. Actually I’ve tried this a very, very, very long time ago “small keed” time, and remember not liking it at all. It tastes just like a deconstructed, mashed-up Vienna Sausage. Therefore I believe this product was formerly known as Deviled Ham?
That said, neither of these two miniature ready-to-spread, whipped-meat-in-a tin wonders eaten by itself without anything to accompany them left a positive impression. As anticipated, more sketchy.
Yet I do remember a better way to serve this stuff, which I learned a while ago from a guy I worked with who just got out of the army. He said infantry were regularly issued these tiny cans of potted meat, crackers and miniature bottles of Tobasco® Sauce (among other rations) out on the field for energy and sustenance. Needless to say, his favorite snack ration was to take the potted meat and spread it on the crackers, then add a few drops of Tobasco sauce for added kick and flavor. He gave me some to try a few times, and I remember kinda’, then after a few, really diggin’ it.
Hence that’s exactly what I did for my next application (Shallow Hal wants a!)…
Using Diamond Bakery Soda Crackers as the foundation, on the left is the SPAM Spread and on the right the Libby’s Potted Meat. On that are a few drops of genuine Tabasco® Sauce. Idea courtesy of the U.S. Army.
Notice the SPAM Spread on the left is a little courser, while the Libby’s Potted Meat is smoother and almost creamy like butter. They both resemble pâté for sure. Personally I found the creamier texture of the potted meat more palatable than the courser SPAM Spread, which has an almost grainy texture to it. Again, the SPAM Spread is more Porky-Ham like, yet not by much, while the Potted Meat tastes essentially like a deconstructed Vienna Sausage.
But both were actually quite tasty on the Diamond Bakery Soda Crackers, thanks in great part to the addition of the Tobasco Sauce, which didn’t drown it out, but ties everything together quite nicely. It actually makes what was an originally offensive (to some) food product in and of itself, now quite tasty. I dig it.
Since each of these are very small portion cans, and I’m not about to potentially threaten my digestive system or reduce my lifespan even further by getting more of it to taste test with, I only have one other application to try in this first segment covering SPAM® Spread. That would be none other than on rice with Furikake sprinkled on it…
I think this further prooves that Furikake can make just about anything savory taste good, including SPAM® Spread! See, since my palate was already acclimated to that “taste”, now eating it with the rice, it somehow tasted more “SPAMMY”, and less deviled ham-like. It still had that weird aftertaste, but still, the Furikake made it taste sooooo much better. So so much better. It compliments it the same way Nori and Teriyaki sauce compliment the rice and SPAM on a classic SPAM Musubi. It was even better when I mixed the spread and furikake into the rice. Enough where, if I had more SPAM® Spread to go around, I’d make a whole bowl of the stuff!
But when I tried to get my girlfriend to at least try a small bite with the rice and furikake, it was still a tough sell. And she loves her rice. When she finally gave in to my begging and took a small bite, she immediately spit it out, already detecting that deviled ham mystery meat flavor in the background. He he.
Which is why I say you must acclimate your palate first in order to even remotely like this stuff, no matter how it’s served.
To sum it up at this point, while the cracker spread ‘n tobasco and rice spread ‘n furikake serving ideas are arguably decently-good, or at least edible, so far I’m still not even halfway near being sold on this stuff as a must-have pantry item. Nor yet is the gastronomical equivalent of Gwyneth Paltrow’s form of Rosemary anywhere to be found; and I thank you for so far not snapping me out of my Anthony Robbins-induced state of hypnosis.
In part II of abusing my digestive system and potentially reducing my lifespan, I’ll be making SPAM® Spread & Libby’s Potted Meat Food Product Wontons!…
Doesn’t that sound delicious!????????????????????????
What? SPAM® Spread
Why? Because it’s named SPAM®
From where and how much did it cost? Given by a friend (whom after reading this review, you might consider my foe)
Big Shaka to: More “Hammy-Porky” flavor compared to Libby’s Potted Meat. Easy to spread. Quite tasty when served on hot rice with Furikake. Ready-to-serve cold or hot. Genuine Hormel SPAM® product. Gwyneth Paltrow as Rosemary. Hypnotism. Fancy Feast and Meow Mix. Friends who give you stuff when they move.
No shaka to: Looks and smells like Fancy Feast® cat food upon first opening the can. It barely, if at all, resembles SPAM Classic in flavor. Has a deviled ham mystery meat (and perhaps cat food) aftertaste. Strange gritty texture. Fancy Feast and Meow Mix eaten by humans. My best friend snapping me out of my hypnotic state. Shallow attitudes. Anthony Robbin’s scary grille. Abusing my digestive system and potentially reducing my lifespan.
SPAM Musubi rating: n/a
What? Libby’s Potted Meat Food Product
Why? Because it’s the most direct competition to Hormel SPAM® Spread
From where and how much did it cost? Marukai, 59 cents each.
Big Shaka to: Tastes better than SPAM® Spread on a soda cracker with Tobasco® Sauce. Smooth, spreadable texture. Ready to serve. Combat-proven. The U.S. Army (and all branches of service). Sparing us by not showing a horrific depiction of what the actual product looks like on the label. Cheap. Gwyneth Paltrow as Rosemary. Hypnotism.
No shaka to: Strange, non-descript “ultimate mystery meat” flavor. Weird regurgitated Vienna sausage aftertaste. Unappetizing product description. Roots growing on meat. Meat growing in pots. My best friend snapping me out of my hypnotic state. Shallow attitudes. Anthony Robbin’s scary grille. Abusing my digestive system and potentially reducing my lifespan.
SPAM Musubi rating: n/a