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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Spam (not the meat) (11/03/11)

TITLE: My Favorite Sandwich
By Deborah Rampona Oliver


When I was a chubby little girl with an

honest-to-goodness bowl haircut, I

lived for a time in Albany, New York

with my brother, father, and

step-mother. Our flat was located in

an impoverished area of town within

walking distance of the hospital where

my father was finishing training. The

neighborhood was low rent and crime

riddled so we spent most of our time

indoors because it wasn’t safe to be

outside. All things considered though,

we were fortunate. We had a car, one

rusted out-oversized Caddy, and enough

food to fill our bellies. Although my

family was jumping up and down on the

poverty line, I was blissfully unaware

of our tight financial circumstances.

My brother and I were each other’s only

companions and we were best of

friends. We shared everything! Scott

and I made forts in our microscopic

bedroom with our big fake fur blanket

that was red and resembled a yeti-sized

Elmo skin. When I got scared, I’d

crawl into his bunk with him which he

begrudgingly permitted until the time I

wet the bed while we were both in it.

Our toys were mutually owned including

my Barbie dolls which suffered the

humiliation of GI Joe haircuts for

which I did NOT grant prior approval.

Best of all, we shared meals and when

we gathered around food I felt more

contentment and love than at any other

time. At the ages of four and five,

Scottie and I were already foodies.

Photographs of us from those years

clearly reflect our adoration of all

things edible. We resembled pudgy his

and hers Buster Browns from the shoe

ads. Fortunately, we existed in the

era when a healthy child and a chubby

child were one and the same, or at

least our grandmother thought so. Some

of our favorites were bowls of

applesauce decorated with happy little

raisin faces. Corned, chipped beef on

toast was both popular and affordable

too. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING,

outperformed a fried Spam sandwich.

On the rare days when my father would

‘cook,’ he would make spam sandwiches.

We would toast bread, slather each side

of it with Mayo (not Miracle Whip), and

eagerly wait for Dad to fry the spam.

He’d crack open the can of molded meat,

lovingly slice it, and cook it to

perfection in a skillet. Both sides of

the meat would be browned and crispy

but the slice would be thick enough

that the middle was tender. That was

my favorite meal. Seriously, if you

think about it, what could be better

than a slab of fat on toasted bread

that is slathered with more fat?

In the 1970’s, spam was a good product

and a celebrated meal. It was THE

go-to dinner in a pinch, much like

Hamburger Helper is today. Ad slogans

trumpeted, “Cold or Hot, Spam Hits the

Spot!” This heirloom of meats was

first sold in 1937 and was a way for

the Hormel company to employ the ‘whole

hog’ so to speak. Yes, I realize that

Spam is little bitty pieces of piggy in

a can, but isn’t there something to be

admired about the thrift of such a


These days, ‘spam’ is considered a bad

thing. Naughty emails sent from vulgar

companies that surreptitiously obtained

your account information are called

‘spam.’ Solicitations for Viagra from

Canada and Horny Goat Weed from Mexico

rattle through the internet server,

into your email account, and drop

anonymously into a folder entitled

spam. No one that I know would admit

to any sort of appreciation of spam,

whether it be the email kind or the

edible sort. So how did Mr. Hormel’s

creation and the veritable culinary

foundation of deli meats become the

slur it is today? Certainly, spam is

the humblest of foods, but what did it

do to deserve the unmitigated hatred of

web surfers and email users

everywhere? Couldn’t we find a kinder,

gentler replacement moniker for all of

those bits and pieces of flotsam that

no one wants? Or even if we can’t

change the name, perhaps we could

consult a PR firm to help soften the

poor image of spam. It could then be

rehabilitated from criminal status into

a quirky relative that everyone loves

in spite of their eccentricity.

Frankly it all seems so hateful! I

know that voting on “In God We Trust,”

was controversial, but perhaps Congress

could rally behind an “I stand for

Spam” campaign instead?

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This article has been read 305 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 11/17/11
I enjoyed your walk down memory lane of years past. Life was so simple back then.

This was an interesting story. Thank you. God Bless~
Helen Curtis11/18/11
I am so pleased that you linked your memories of Spam - the "meat" with Spam - the annoying email messages! I really liked the comparison; I've never really considered where the latter meaning originated! A good fun read, well done.
C D Swanson 12/01/11
NIcely done! I am so glad you received recognition for a well written piece. God Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/01/11
This is a delightful tale down memory lane. I liked your subtle sense of humor.

The main thing I would consider changing is the format. When you enter your submission leave off the title and the level. Then hit preview before submit so you can see what your story will look like. By omitting the level it'll prevent you from accidentally hitting submit before you have proofed it. Then when you are happy with the proofreading, fill in the title and level.

You did an awesome job. Congratulations!