Sunday, November 16, 2008

SPAM is not cheap

Stories are going around, triggered by this one in the New York Times, to the effect that now that the country has hit the economic skids, sales of SPAM -- that rectangular canned delicacy made up of ground pork, ham, salt, pink coloring and sodium nitrate -- are booming because it is so convenient and so cheap.

Uh. No it's not.

In my area 12 ounce cans of SPAM go for up to $3.99, always over $3.00, and usually around $3.79. This translates to over $5.00 a pound, quite a bit more than either canned or smoked bone in ham from the meat cases.

And yet, all the stories in the media claim it's "cheap." It's not. Not even close. It used to be pretty cheap in the Old Days, but those days are long gone.

"Cold or hot... SPAM hits the spot!"

What I remember when I was a kid and times were lean in our house was Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast. Known colloquially as "Shit on a Shingle" or "SoS."

Maybe that's because both my parents were in the military.

Chipped beef (dried but not jerked beef slices) came in a glass jar, but I haven't seen any in a market for years. They say it's still sold, though, and Stouffer's makes a frozen version of "SoS."

I'm sure it costs a fortune. Specialty food. For hard times.

What are you doing to cope with the worst economic crisis since 1932?

[SPAM Image: Back cover of National Geographic Magazine January, 1945]


  1. Spam isn't so cheap for the flesh donors, particularly for the way they have to live out their wretched lives, just to be turned into pink shit.

    Here, we've just been trying to be sure we've got a few weeks worth of dry food at any one time, so in case the commercial paper markets lock up again, and things aren't moving, we're not caught.

    Been trying to eat cheap, but so far, except for higher prices on everything, the rest of the crisis hasn't hit us directly.

  2. A recipe from college days, fideos:

    Comfort food, cheap, and tasty.

    Drag out the crock pot, make soup, make bread, don't buy anything boxed or processed. Less meat, more vegetables. Your body will thank you.

    Go to the farmers' market.

    Anyway, that's the end of my sermon. But I am having trouble finding vermicelli.