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SPAM in the White House?

ChrisOC Dec 23, 2008 05:17 AM

I just saw on the news that President elect Obama treated his friends to lunch yesterday, hot dogs and Spam Musubi. Then I realized, he is from Hawaii and probably eats a lot of Spam. I can see a state dinner at the White House with Spam on the menu!

  1. b
    Bobfrmia Dec 27, 2008 09:11 PM

    Obama's love of Spam, to me, means there may be hope for him.
    I'll not make this a political thread about how he is just rebuilding the Clinton administration, which flies in the face of the "change" wave that put him in office, and just say, Hey, anyone that loves Spam can't help but have our best interest at heart.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Bobfrmia
      thew Dec 28, 2008 04:08 AM

      change refers to change from the policies of the last 8 years, but it would be nice to have a foodie in the whitehouse, there was a good article 2 weeks ago in the NY times about obama and the foodocentric communities hopes for him, in terms of food policy


      1. re: thew
        OCAnn Dec 28, 2008 10:16 AM

        You need to be a NYTimes.com member to read the article. Can you post the article in Food Media & News & post a link here? Thank you.

        1. re: OCAnn
          The Chowhound Team Dec 28, 2008 10:46 AM

          Unfortunately, copyright laws prevent us from allowing anything more than a brief quote from an article. It is free to sign up for access to the NYT website, though, if that helps.

          1. re: OCAnn
            KTinNYC Dec 28, 2008 11:04 AM

            If you don't want to register you can always use a username and password from bugmenot.com


            1. re: KTinNYC
              OCAnn Dec 28, 2008 11:45 AM

              Chowhound, thank you.

              KT, even better. Thank you!

      2. Siobhan Dec 27, 2008 08:49 PM

        I went to a boarding school in Ireland n the 70s and Sunday supper was sliced Spam uncooked or warmed in any way for six years. Have not had it since my years in hell (well it wasn't Jane Eyre but it wasn't Enid Blyton) but I might try it fried soon. Spam let's you survive..,

        1. j
          jlafler Dec 27, 2008 12:29 PM

          I suspect that, like most politicians, Obama is a "when in Rome" kind of guy about food. On the campaign trail, you have to eat a lot of weird and random things, including local specialties that you must enjoy (or pretend to). My guess is that he eats Spam in Hawaii, where it's part of the food culture, but wouldn't serve it in the White House. For that matter, what gets served will probably be left up to Michelle.

          1. Caralien Dec 27, 2008 11:49 AM

            (not a Spam lover, but have eaten it with Hawaiian and Korean friends)
            Regarding Spam at the White House...Didn't President Clinton try serving McDonald's once? I know it wasn't a State dinner, but I also recall that it didn't go over well. I highly doubt that Spam would be served for a State dinner, but if that is what he would like to eat, by all means. There are plenty of people who live off of peanut butter or cold cereal, by choice (but will be happy to eat what is served to them by others, and who certainly have enough manners as to eat what they're served)

            1. c
              chilihead Dec 26, 2008 03:07 PM

              I associate spam with family. I grew up sailing around the Great Lakes at every chance that my parents could find. Up through the locks to Lake Superior or island and cove hopping through Lake Michigan. There were always those times when stores would run low, when fish were not caught and when Spam was what was for dinner. This was not a deprivation, it was food, and Mom or Dad fried it, put it between two slices of bread or on some rice and that was all there was. I also have fond memories of deviled ham and instant coffee. While I never think "Hey John and Jeanne are coming over for dinner, I'll just cook up some spam" I do have a few cans in the cupboard in case we're in a pinch.

              It’s not bad and it'll last forever, or long enough.

              10 Replies
              1. re: chilihead
                latindancer Dec 26, 2008 03:31 PM

                Yeah....maybe it's that 'it'll last forever' thing and the Frisky's canned catfood smell that makes me feel the way I do about Spam.

                1. re: latindancer
                  Whosyerkitty Dec 26, 2008 08:24 PM

                  I don't care what he eats, as long as he fixes the economy, gets us out of the damn war, and implements health care reform. Which I am confident he will do. I am also a fellow Chicagoan, and he's exhibited pretty good taste when it comes to his hot spots for dining, so I think he's got it under control.

                  And besides, Michelle will plan all that anyway. But be aware that most of us ate Spam (in a weird ketchup based sauce, with instant mashed) sometimes for lunch in Chicago Public Schools.

                  1. re: Whosyerkitty
                    chicgail Dec 27, 2008 06:03 AM


                    1. re: Whosyerkitty
                      latindancer Dec 27, 2008 11:36 AM

                      Well that's one more reason I'm glad I went to a public school where I did. Spam was never on the menu...ever.
                      However it is all over the place in Hawaii and I choose not to eat it.
                      I really don't care, like you, what the President, past/present/future, of the United States eats either. As a matter of fact, until I read this thread, I didn't know he'd eaten Spam (so what?) and the media had made such a big deal about it.
                      I think there are 'bigger fish to fry', so to speak, but the fact remains....I hate the
                      stuff and apparently so do quite a few others :).

                      1. re: latindancer
                        Whosyerkitty Dec 27, 2008 07:40 PM

                        Boy, that blows all the crazy nonsense about him being a closet Muslim, as NO Muslim would ever consume Spam.

                        Michelle may be a closet Spammer, as she did the CPS. Stay tuned...

                        1. re: Whosyerkitty
                          OCAnn Dec 28, 2008 10:12 AM

                          Nice & interesting observation re spam/chicago public schools/Obama not being Muslim.

                          1. re: OCAnn
                            Whosyerkitty Dec 28, 2008 05:20 PM

                            Thank you.

                      2. re: Whosyerkitty
                        Kate is always hungry Dec 27, 2008 09:35 PM

                        I was born and raised in Chicago. There were no school cafeterias when I went to school there. Had to walk home for lunch everyday. No snow days, either.

                        1. re: Kate is always hungry
                          Whosyerkitty Dec 28, 2008 05:01 AM

                          Really? NS or SS? And WHEN? Because at my grade school you weren't even allowed to go home the last few years. This was in the 70's. They had the crabby lunch ladies with the hairnets and everything. Now I think most of them cater in. The smelly, starchy grade school lunch was $0.32 which is less than I pay now at a Catholic school just for milk because my daughter brings her lunch. No spammy sammies, though.

                          It's a giant system, but I can't imagine where you went to school. I've never heard of that. I can't remember about snow days then, although now they're unheard of. I just remember the teachers striking a LOT.

                          Is that why you're always hungry?

                          1. re: Whosyerkitty
                            Caralien Dec 31, 2008 10:01 AM

                            Kate & Kitty:
                            In the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, no one was allowed to go home for lunch as we ate in the cafeterias, usually brought from home; milk was served at lunchtime, with breakfast for those who qualified. When we moved to La Grange in 1981, it was the same routine (aside from pizza or hot dog day once a month for $1.75). High School had full lunches for purchase, but we'd usually try to sneak off campus at that point.

                            Never had snow days in the city or the suburbs either; once the school flooded, and we waited 3 hours before being sent home (at which time the generators kicked in).

                  2. BarmyFotheringayPhipps Dec 24, 2008 12:27 PM

                    I have heard Obama speak approvingly of plate lunch in general and loco moco in particular, so I suspect that he does genuinely like the food of his homeland.

                    Besides, every time he talks about stuff like that, it makes folks like Cokie Roberts complain about how he vacations in "foreign exotic places," apparently unaware that Hawaii is in fact a US state. So there's entertainment value in that part alone.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                      pikawicca Dec 24, 2008 05:09 PM

                      I love Spam, but eat it rarely, as I try to eat a mostly healthy diet. My sense is that Barack is a bit of a health nut, so suspect that Spam is a rare treat for him, as well.

                      1. re: pikawicca
                        Morganna Dec 31, 2008 01:51 PM

                        I heard there was a photo of him out there in a bathing suit, and he's ripped. :) I bet spam is an occasional treat, too. :) I like spam, though, in its place. Spam, chopped green peppers and onions, with scrambled eggs, topped with cheddar cheese. That was something Daddy learned to love when he was in the Marines and that was what he'd make of a sunday morning when Mom wasn't feeling like making breakfast. :)

                    2. PeterL Dec 24, 2008 07:18 AM

                      The man promised change, and change he brings.

                      Besides, he is vacationing in Hawaii.

                      1. c
                        cavandre Dec 24, 2008 05:27 AM

                        Fried Spam on a NYC hard roll...That's a good breakfast.

                        1. c
                          chilihead Dec 24, 2008 04:41 AM

                          White House cuisine has seen stranger.
                          This is from The Taste of America by John and Karen Hess:

                          "Day in and day out , Mr. (President) Ford eats exactly the same lunch - a ball of cottage cheese over which he pours a small pitcher of A.1. Sauce, a sliced onion or a quartered tomato and a small helping of butter pecan ice cream. " Eating and sleeping," he says to me, "are a waste of time."

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chilihead
                            rednyellow Dec 24, 2008 12:30 PM

                            Nixon also ate cottage cheese every day. I think it was only Knudsen brand. Bush II did one thing I found cute - when he first came to the white house, or maybe even the place he stayed briefly before moving in, he asked for a cheese burger. He was told they don't serve cheeseburgers. His response was "Yes you do".
                            If the new President likes spam, Rock on!, serve it.

                          2. ChrisOC Dec 23, 2008 01:08 PM

                            I meant no disrespect at all. On the contrary, if you check my previous posts, you will see that I am a SPAM lover as well. I was celebrating that fact that formally or informaly, there will no doubt be Spam in the White House.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ChrisOC
                              chicgail Dec 23, 2008 01:45 PM

                              Thanks for clarifying that. Posts, like emails, sometimes take on an unintended tone.

                              Spam for all of us. then!

                            2. chicgail Dec 23, 2008 10:37 AM

                              I'm going to assume that there was no disrespect intended for our new President-elect by your post.

                              What one eats casually or for comfort is not likely the same as what would show up at a formal dinner -- at my house, at your house, at Mr. Obama's house. And certainly not at the White House.

                              Like it or not, it may well be that as the economy worsens, more of us will be dining on Spam.

                              24 Replies
                              1. re: chicgail
                                latindancer Dec 24, 2008 08:37 AM

                                Not in a billion years, down-turned economy or not, would I ever eat Spam.

                                1. re: latindancer
                                  chicgail Dec 24, 2008 08:52 AM

                                  That's an an interesting response. I am not a spam-eater, but I know it has connotations of being junk, being poor people's food, being unhealthy. Can you say why YOU would never eat spam? Just curious.

                                  1. re: chicgail
                                    latindancer Dec 24, 2008 09:13 AM

                                    My response has nothing to do with what your perceptions, or anyone else's perceptions, of Spam are. I actually have never thought of Spam the way you're portraying it...'junk food, poor people's food, unhealthy". There is an entire cultural population of Spam eaters that I love and admire for many reasons.
                                    I hate the taste. It's repulsive to me. I've eaten it and I just don't like it.
                                    Does that satisfy your 'curiosity'?

                                    1. re: latindancer
                                      Passadumkeg Dec 24, 2008 02:30 PM

                                      Mi cunado, we also must put Spam on the bonfire. I've stated before that in a typical military SNAFU we were resupplied on a hill top with 4 palates of Spam, destined for batallion HQ, instead of our usual mixed c-rats. Never again.

                                      Su hermano in Spam
                                      El Passeo

                                      1. re: latindancer
                                        chicgail Dec 24, 2008 09:53 AM

                                        It does. Thank you for your response.

                                        I know I've tried spam, but I have no clear recollections of what it was like. I do know that I didn't continue to eat it, so maybe I didn't like it either, Maybe I should try it again -- so I know what I am talking about.

                                        1. re: chicgail
                                          kb8240 Dec 26, 2008 09:45 AM

                                          Spam repulses me because the smell is very reminiscent of canned cat food.
                                          But I cannot deny that well done and sliced thin, the flavor is msg good.

                                          1. re: kb8240
                                            alanbarnes Dec 26, 2008 10:02 AM

                                            Hate to break it to you, but there's no MSG in Spam. Pork, salt, water, sugar, and sodium nitrite - that's it.

                                            1. re: alanbarnes
                                              Passadumkeg Dec 26, 2008 12:48 PM

                                              Mmmmmm.......Imagine Spam in an olive drab can with only small black block print on the can. Now imagine a Colt .45 cal slug hitting it dead center. Ooooo, oooo good!

                                              1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                alanbarnes Dec 26, 2008 01:31 PM

                                                Okay, pork, salt, water, sugar, sodium nitrite, lead, and trace amounts of accelerants.

                                                Does the pressure blow the can, or does the 230 grain FMJ go through-and-through?

                                                1. re: alanbarnes
                                                  chowser Dec 26, 2008 04:43 PM

                                                  My husband was telling me that the Coast Guard did a food drop once in the middle of the ocean (intercepting a ship) and they sent handreds of cans of spam for the passengers. There was some problem with the parachute and it didn't open. They hit the water full force and the cans blew open. He said it looked was an ocean full of spam.

                                                2. re: Passadumkeg
                                                  latindancer Dec 26, 2008 03:41 PM

                                                  LOL....the can doesn't tear open and send Spam chunks flying all over the place so the poor, unknowing animals eat it, does it?

                                                  1. re: latindancer
                                                    Passadumkeg Dec 26, 2008 03:58 PM

                                                    We would leave it for the Viet Cong and hope and pray they would eat it! True story.

                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                      latindancer Dec 26, 2008 04:08 PM

                                                      Now that would be one of the better stories I've heard in my lifetime....
                                                      The visuals, alone, are remarkable.

                                              2. re: kb8240
                                                thew Dec 27, 2008 06:22 AM

                                                my cats refused spam

                                        2. re: latindancer
                                          soypower Dec 24, 2008 12:32 PM

                                          Reminds me of Dr. Seuss' Green eggs & Ham...I will not eat Green Eggs & Ham...

                                          But I would give spam a try..is it really any worse than a hot dog or bologna?

                                          1. re: soypower
                                            alanbarnes Dec 24, 2008 12:55 PM

                                            Not only is it not worse, it's actually quite good IMHO.

                                            My favorite way to eat it is sliced relatively thin (1 can = 8 slices) and fried or grill3ed until it's crisp on the outside, alongside a good scoop of medium-grain rice and a couple of sunny-side-up eggs. That's what breakfast tastes like in paradise.

                                            1. re: alanbarnes
                                              latindancer Dec 24, 2008 02:22 PM

                                              My breakfast in paradise usually consists of fresh local fruit, bagels and lox and espresso made from beans grown on Kona.
                                              Life is good in paradise.

                                              1. re: alanbarnes
                                                OCAnn Dec 25, 2008 09:21 AM

                                                alan, that sounds like the perfect b'fast!

                                                1. re: OCAnn
                                                  alanbarnes Dec 25, 2008 10:26 AM

                                                  It's pretty good. To be perfect, it has to be eaten on a lanai within earshot of the surf.

                                              2. re: soypower
                                                latindancer Dec 24, 2008 02:33 PM

                                                I ate bologna as a child on rare occasions and will have an occasional hotdog as long as it's all beef.
                                                The thought of what goes in to the making of Spam makes me nauseated.
                                                However I love plate lunches...the macaroni salad varies from one restaurant to another and that wonderful rice and that great deep fried mahi mahi.
                                                Wow...watching/photographing competitive surfing championships with a plate lunch tucked securely next to me in the sand?
                                                Nothing could be finer in paradise.

                                                1. re: latindancer
                                                  alanbarnes Dec 24, 2008 04:48 PM

                                                  I'm with you on the local fruit. But bagels? Lox? Espresso? Can't go there. I'll meet you halfway with toasted Hawai'ian sweet bread, ahi poke, and brewed coffee from Will & Grace, Moki's Farm, or one of the other small growers. Further than that and we'll have to agree to disagree.

                                                  But back to the original topic, what is it that nauseates you about Spam's ingredients? It's just ham and pork shoulder with the simplest of seasonings and curing salt.

                                                  1. re: alanbarnes
                                                    latindancer Dec 25, 2008 11:00 AM

                                                    Don't know why the thought of eating Spam makes me sick.
                                                    As one who's eaten, with enthusiasm and curiosity, edible insects from all over the world eating Spam, and the memories of those rare occasions when I did it eat, is history.
                                                    I'll never do it again.
                                                    In my mind why ruin a great bowl of saimin with the addition of Spam?
                                                    It's purely a matter of personal taste...

                                                    1. re: latindancer
                                                      alanbarnes Dec 25, 2008 03:07 PM

                                                      Eat what makes you happy.

                                                      Mele Kalikimaka.

                                            2. re: chicgail
                                              Cathy Dec 31, 2008 12:28 PM

                                              Regular price (at Ralphs in California) is $3.50 for a 12 ounce can. Even on sale it is $2.00 for 12 ounces. Not economical at all...actually, a delicacy in a way.

                                            3. OCAnn Dec 23, 2008 09:01 AM

                                              spam musubi...ono home cooking. I think it's awesome that he's opening the culinary eyes of those unfamiliar to foods from other places whether upscale or street/comfort food.

                                              1. Deenso Dec 23, 2008 06:08 AM

                                                There's nothing wrong with Spam musubi for lunch, or a nice slice or two of pan-fried Spam alongside your sunny-side-up eggs. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it. But I seriously doubt that our newly elected president will have Spam musubi on the menu at a state dinner. Personally, I really love a snack of skinless and boneless sardines with a little onion and a squeeze of lemon, but would I serve this to dinner guests at a formal sit-down? A little credit, please, for Mr. Obama.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Deenso
                                                  Davwud Dec 23, 2008 09:15 AM

                                                  I don't recall hearing Jr. serve beef ribs and brisket at a state dinner for that matter either.


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