State Fair

Hear the sizzle: Spam tiny house to visit State Fair

The Spam “Tiny House of Sizzle” will appear at California State Fair. It will serve up the mystery meat Spam in many variations.
The Spam “Tiny House of Sizzle” will appear at California State Fair. It will serve up the mystery meat Spam in many variations. Hormel

A tiny house will visit the California State Fair this summer that will serve up the mystery meat Spam in many variations.

The “Tiny House of Sizzle Tour” will be at the State Fair from July 14 to 16, serving up Spam favorites such as Spam musubi, a staple in Hawaii, and Spam breakfast burritos.

In addition to those tried-and-true items, the menu will include at each stop from New York to San Francisco special culinary inventions from local chefs. In Sacramento, Michael Thiemann of Mother and Empress Tavern will serve Spam grilled cheese with brie and peaches.

The tiny house is just 185 square feet and painted in the Spam brand’s blue and yellow.

Hormel, the maker of Spam, was the first packer to can ham in 1926.

As company legend goes, Hormel was ready to introduce a spiced ham product composed of ham and pork shoulder meat – Hormel Spiced Ham. But competitors got wind of this and rushed similar projects to the grocery shelves.

Unable to gain a controlling share of the market, Hormel searched for a catchy name. Ken Daigneau, the brother of a Hormel executive, supplied the name: Spam, an acronym for spiced ham.

Spam was advertised as the “Miracle Meat,” but it easily could have been called the original “Mystery Meat.”

The product was especially reviled by some GIs during World War II. The Army liked the fact that Spam requires no refrigeration. Spam became a four-letter word among GIs and was the pork butt of many jokes. “Spam is ham that didn’t pass its physical,” went one joke.

President Eisenhower wrote Hormel years after the war: “I ate my share of Spam along with millions of other soldiers. I’ll even confess to a few unkind words about it – uttered during the strain of battle, you understand. But as the former commander-in-chief, I believe I can still officially forgive you your only sin: sending us so much of it.”

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews

Spam history at a glance

1937: Spam is introduced. Originally called Hormel Spiced Ham, the company holds a contest to create a name as distinctive as the taste. The winner, Kenneth Daigneau, receives the grand prize of $100.

1945: According to Nikita Khrushchev’s book, “Khrushchev Remembers,” Spam is fed to Russian soldiers in World War II. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, then a teenager, recalled Spam as a “wartime delicacy.”

1959: Spam produces its 1 billionth can.

1970: Spam produces its 2 billionth can. Spam makes its own television debut on a sketch of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”

1986: Only six years after producing its 3 billionth can, Spam reaches the 4 billion mark.

1994: Spam produces its 5 billionth can.

2001: Hormel Foods opens the Spam Museum in Austin, Minn.

2012: Spam produces its 8 billionth can.

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