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SPAM: A Biography: The Amazing True Story of America's "Miracle Meat!" Paperback – July 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Clean & Tight Contents edition (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156004771
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156004770
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 7.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #350,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Cadillac of canned meat food products finally gets its due with Spam: A Biography. The book traces the meat's story from its distant Hormel ancestry through its history-changing 1937 birth, right up to the present day. Along the way we discover that its ingredients are not nearly so revolting as one might have been lead to think (merely pork shoulder, ham, salt, sugar, and delicious sodium nitrite) and that Spam received its pithy name from actor and friend of the Hormel family, Kenneth Daigneau. But this is no rosy-hued love letter to luncheon meats. Wyman tackles the tough issues of Hormel's labor problems during the 1980s and the visceral hatred many World War II GIs developed for Spam after finding it in meals for days on end. (Wyman also notes alternative wartime Spam uses, including skin conditioner, gun lubricant, and thickly-sliced playing cards.) In an invaluable service, readers are reassured as to the benign nature of the disturbing gelatin that surrounds Spam, and taught how to tell which batch they're eating by deciphering the markings on their cans. The author also tracks the history of Spam advertising and descends into the terrifying maelstrom of obsessive Spam fans. Of course, no book on Spam would be complete without recipes, and Wyman includes some truly chilling examples, including "SPAMtastic Mincemeat Truffles," "Fruit Cocktail-SPAM Buffet Party Loaf," and the absolutely ungodly "Lobster Thermidor aux Crevettes with a Mornay Sauce Garnished with Truffle Pâté, Brandy, and a Fried Egg on Top and Spam." --Ali Davis

From Booklist

A main-meal casserole accompanied by baked beans, pineapple, and brown sugar. A foodstuff popularized by military legends. Every conceivable topic related to this spiced ham product is explored: its origins in Austin, Minnesota; history and wartime stories; advertising and promotions; manufacturing; and Spam spoofs and features in the media. Certainly, newspaper food columnist Wyman has done her homework. A hodgepodge of illustrations cries 1940s and 1950s design style, and a mixture of innumerable facts and creative fiction amuses, entertains, and impresses. Could anyone resist the following ditty: "But marital bliss is sure to cease/If I ever ask for ham/And find my eggs are looking up/From a goldarned slice of Spam." More than you ever dreamed--or could consume. Barbara Jacobs

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
SPAM luncheon meat has been good "eats" for over 60 years and this book nicely reviews its place in our culinary history. For a book full of both old and new ways to fix SPAM, a fan will also need Linda Egger's SPAM, The Cookbook.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By ebetsy on May 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
In this marvelously apropos sequel to "I'm A Spam Fan"-- her wonderfully readable round-up of household brand names-- Carolyn Wyman cooks up a campy collation of fun facts and festive factoids that delightfully delineates the enduring mystique of America's favorite mystery meat. We Love It!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
Hidden beneath the barrage of silly spamaphenelia lies a story about the development of one of the most well known brands in America, and the world. This book offers interesting insight into one of the longest continually sold products in America.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By tvtv3 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Spam is a luncheon loaf loved by millions and despised by just as many. It's also a food staple that is a verified piece of Americana. I've never been a huge fan of spam neither have I been one of its detractors. After visiting the Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota I decided to learn a little more about this infamous concoction of pork and bought and read SPAM: A BIOGRAPHY Beginning with the origins of the Hormel food company and the eventual creation of Spam and continuing into the end of the twentieth century, SPAM: A BIOGRAPHY chronicles the life and times of America's "miracle meat". It's surprising how much history one famous product has. In addition to a chronology of Spam and its parent company, SPAM: A BIOGRAPHY also examines Spam's impact upon culture, both in America and abroad; from Monty Python to the Russian front in WWII to Hawaiian Spam huts, it's all examined here. Spread throughout the book are also a variety of recipes for creating Spam dishes, such as Spam cheesecake, Spam Spargot, and Spam bread.

After reading SPAM: A BIOGRAPHY I'm still not really a fan of Spam, but I do have a better appreciation for the luncheon loaf. I'm no longer ashamed to admit that I kind of like the taste of Spam, but I still wouldn't want to eat it everyday. In reading the book, I also learned a lot of quirky trivia such as the connection between Hormel's Spam, Monty Python, and the naming of email junk mail as spam. Recommended for people who both like to read and are Spam fans. Trivia buffs might also enjoy it.
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