16,000 Square feet about square meat

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Do you like Spam (a lot) ?  Then come on down to the SPAM Museum in Austin Minnesota.


Quite possibly the world’s greatest museum dedicated to luncheon meat, the SPAM Museum teaches the history and origin of SPAM, its parent company Hormel foods, and the meat’s place in pop culture. With its tasty pork tongue planted firmly in its moist, yummy cheek, the museum is a fun and free meaty mecca.

Iowa and Southern Minnesota had to do something with all that corn, so why not raise hogs.  Hogs that later become tasty SPAM. Fortunately these little piggies are heading in the opposite direction.

Located in the center of Austin’s main street the SPAM museum fills the air before you even arrive with the aroma of grilled meat. Upon entering you are warmly greeted with free samples or “Spamples” (their words) of the meat products many delicious incarnations.  I had the Spam Turkey and the Spam Chorizo both of which my tummy gurgle with delight. (But I had skipped breakfast, so in all honesty my tummy was pretty promiscuous by then)

So much SPAM, so little time.


So what does “SPAM” actually stand for. I was always told it was a portmanteau of  “Shoulder Pork and Ham” . I know the meat is actually from the shoulder cut (very sweet tasting) and the fattier ham cut. The combination gives it a fatty/sweet taste. Admittedly, the stuff is kind of tasty and addictive.  Is it good for you? Well, it does provide protein and a lot of B-12. But it is a pretty high in cholesterol, sodium and fat. Perhaps in moderation, or maybe just go to the museum and have fun instead.

The Museum is broken down into several parts. The central area or “Can Central” features the panoply of SPAM mutations recipes and as the name implies lots of cans. Then you have the world of SPAM featuring exhibits of some of the 44 countries where the meat is available. These include the UK, Japan, Australia, China, the Philippines, and Mexico. These countries each have a kiosk where you can watch a commercial from their respective country.

Japan has the dancing SPAM can and is an animated television character.
China is SPAM’s most popular market


The British section featured a mock pub called “The Flying Pig”


Of course, SPAM is on the menu


Knicky Knacks from the “British Spam Pub”
Monty Python’s famous “SPAM Sketch” is on a perpetual loop
You can also watch the hit Broadway and West End Musical “Spamalot”

The origin of the SPAM sketch is based on the fact that after WWII Britain’s industries were pretty much entirely wiped out. Food was pretty scarce. Under the Marshall Plan we helped rebuild Britain by sending them supplies and food (which included SPAM). For a while SPAM literally was pretty much all there was to eat.

I can also relate. There was a time while my brother and I were growing up that my parents were really struggling so we had eat SPAM quite a bit. I have to admit i thought it was pretty tasty. Especially fried with some cheese and mustard on sandwich bread.

The tins can make great ukuleles


SPAM sushi? How is that even possible?


During the second World War, and Korea, GI’s ate a lot of SPAM. Here an actor/soldier talks about how they originally hated SPAM but it kind of grew on them. It was a common inexpensive source of protein for the military.
The Hormel people know SPAM is kind of a jokey thing.It’s a running gag on Monty Python and an internet term for something unwanted and of little value. But they have sold over 8 billion cans of the stuff since 1937. They have been Spamming all of us and laughing all the way to the bank doing so. But I love that they made this museum and seem to not take themselves too seriously.

The SPAM Museum is in Austin, Minnesota right on Main Street. It’s a bit of a small museum but it is free and very entertaining. The city of Austin also features the mansion of the Spam Kings The Hormel family and they have a very lovely nature preserve on the edge of town. I will be doing a future on the preserve, it is very nice. 





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