Alutiit Spam-eq pingaktaarat. - Alutiiq people (always) like Spam.
The Hormel Foods Corporation introduced Spam to American consumers in 1937. Manufactured in Austin, Minnesota, this now famous lunchmeat came packaged in twelve-ounce cans. Hormel reports that more than seven billion cans of Spam have been sold in the past sixty-five years! Alaskans contributed significantly to this total.
Spam is a mixture of chopped ham and spices. Because it is cooked and canned, Spam does not need refrigeration. This makes it easy to ship and store. Spam gained popularity during World War II and has remained a favorite in Alaska’s rural communities, lodges, and field camps. Each year chefs complete at the Alaska State Fair in Anchorage to win the “best Spam recipe” contest.
Alutiiq families continue to enjoy Spam, adding it to a variety of dishes. In addition to eating fried Spam for breakfast and making Spam sandwiches, Alutiiqs enjoy the spicy meat in spaghetti, soups, and casseroles. And Alutiiq language teachers recently created a Kodiak version of Dr. Seuss’s beloved “Green Eggs and Ham.” The Alutiiq translation features seagull eggs and Spam.
Photo: Nettles and fried spam cooked over a coleman stove.