Monday, November 17, 2008

Spam Is a 4-Letter Word

You know times are tough when you find yourself at the grocery store, reaching toward the shelf for this blue-colored tin.

When I was growing up in the late 1970s, much to my chagrin, my father would trudge off to the grocery store on a weekend morning and occasionally come back home with a tin of Spam. His purchasing decision had less to do with my family's economic status than it did with the fact that my father was born without taste buds.

According to the N.Y. Times, Americans may be opening a lot more tins of Spam in the days ahead:
The economy is in tatters and, for millions of people, the future is uncertain. But for some employees at the Hormel Foods Corporation plant [in Austin, Minn.], times have never been better. They are working at a furious pace and piling up all the overtime they want.

The workers make Spam, perhaps the emblematic hard-times food in the American pantry.

Through war and recession, Americans have turned to the glistening canned product from Hormel as a way to save money while still putting something that resembles meat on the table. Now, in a sign of the times, it is happening again, and Hormel is cranking out as much Spam as its workers can produce.

Spam, a gelatinous 12-ounce rectangle of spiced ham and pork, may be among the world’s most maligned foods, dismissed as inedible by food elites and skewered by comedians who have offered smart-alecky theories on its name (one G-rated example: Something Posing As Meat).

. . . Hormel declined to cooperate with this article, but several of its workers were interviewed here recently with the help of their union, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 9.

Spam “seems to do well when hard times hit,” said Dan Bartel, business agent for the union local. “We’ll probably see Spam lines instead of soup lines.”
Now, there's one line you never hope to be standing in.

No comments: