Gratitude for…. Spam?

Thanksgiving is a perfect day to give thanks and appreciate everything we have and a day to be grateful. It’s arguably my favorite holiday because Thanksgiving signifies the beginning of the holiday season and that means lots and lots of delicious food. Most importantly, it’s a day to feast without feeling guilty about eating that extra turkey leg. An average American consumes 5,000 calories on Thanksgiving Day but hey, it’s Thanksgiving, who’s counting?

This Thanksgiving was much different from all the others I had because my feast came the day after Thanksgiving. My typical Thanksgiving Day would be to go to a church gathering with my family but to my dismay, we didn’t follow our normal routine. I had basketball practice that morning from 9AM-11AM so that night, I just ate out with my parents. The next morning, I headed out for a basketball tournament at California Lutheran University and that night, we had a potluck at one of our teammate’s house. At first, I thought it was going to be a burger and hot dog kind of potluck but boy was I wrong.

The moment I set foot in the house, the savory aroma of turkey hits me and I almost couldn’t control my urge to run over the 10 people in front of me to get myself a bite of that juicy, tender turkey. As I walk closer, I begin to hear tri tip grilling in the kitchen, smell macaroni and cheese baking in the oven and rich aroma of the pumpkin pie cooling on the shiny medal stand. When I finally arrived to the table, I was delighted to see a full table of different cultured food arranged in such an elegant way that makes me want to throw out all the manners I’ve learned over the past 18 years of my life and just use my hand to dig in. There was a shiny honey glazed ham sitting next delicious looking tortilla salad and numerous other dishes such as mashed potatoes, fruit bowl, and Spam Musubi. Wait, Spam Musubi at Thanksgiving? That’s not something you would normally find but since we are a diverse team I wasn’t particularly surprised as to be excited by the sight of the perfectly cut rectangular bite-sized spam Musubi.

Just when I was debating whether or not to grab one when no one is looking, one of the parents picked the whole tray up to offer us one because I guess the attention the dish is receiving isn’t as subtle as I thought. I quickly accepted one and took a bite into the soft chewy spam Musubi and it brought back nostalgic memories of my childhood instantaneously.

As I finally come back to reality, I look to my right and found my teammate perplexed at the food. “What’s wrong?” I asked, “nothing” she replies, “it’s just I’ve never eaten one of these before, what’s in it?” I almost burst into laughter because Spam is such a common food to me that it seemed impossible for anyone to not have knowledge what it is. Spam Musubi consists of a piece of rectangular spam sandwiched in between rice and wrapped in a big piece of seaweed. It’s like a hamburger but instead of the outside buns, you have rice and instead of the sesame seeds covering the buns, you have a thin piece of seaweed wrapped around the rice and the spam is the meat inside the burger. A normal spam Musubi is the size of an iPhone and about an inch and a half thick. After I explained it to her that spam is just canned pork meat, she took a bite into it and gave me a nod of approval.Contrary to popular belief, Spam didn’t originate in the Asian countries. Instead, the Spam trademark was found in the United States. The company was founded by George A. Hormel in the late 1890’s in Austin, Minnesota and the company later became Hormel Foods Corporation. The name Spam comes from the words “Spiced Ham” and the Hormel developed Spam as a way to separate his competitors from himself because the fresh meat industry was way too competitive back then. After years of trying to can meat, he finally succeeded and there has been numerous types of Spam such as: Spam Lite, Hot and Spicy Spam, Turkey Spam, etc… In 2001, there has been so many different kinds of Spam sold that a Spam Museum was opened. Spam has remained one of my favorite foods because it’s simple, easy to carry and delicious.

Though my Thanksgiving dinner came late this year, it was probably one of the best I’ve had. This Thanksgiving, I give thanks to being so privileged as to have a wonderful family and friends that truly cares and loves me for who I am. Of course, I’m also thankful for delicious food that I’ve been so blessed with and for George Hormel for finding Spam.

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