“Why, Bettie, you must be exhausted.” Emma greets Bettie Stevens as she approaches their table in the ballroom of the St. Anthony Hotel. “Everyone in the city was wearing little white tags. And not a day passes without your name in Mattie Walthall’s column. You flit from hosting a breakfast on the Medina River to an elegant reception for Missus French. You attend a Library Board meeting, deliver a paper on the Cavaliers for the Daughters of the American Revolution and then chaperone the girls at the Thanksgiving game and ball in Austin.”
Sophie Wahrmund stands and welcomes Bettie with a hug. “And all in the midst of debutante season. Please sit down and join us. We banished Otto and Otto temporarily to the bar for their inappropriate remarks.”
As I am trying to stay focused on other writing projects, my blog posts are few and far between.
Not that anyone has been complaining.
Not surprisingly, readership has tapered off dramatically.
Except for my fan most loyal.
No matter how stale the posts are, this follower returns again and again. So frequent are those visits, WordPress tries to block them to keep its internet arteries unclogged.
But he is persistent, slipping through the second WordPress lets its guard down.
I knew little about him, so today I decided to learn more.
He turned 75 this year. And he must be well-educated.
Well, not that well-educated. Admittedly, his grammar is poor. In fact, his favorite post appears to be a photo with a spelling error in its title: “sandwish board.” This also means he has poor taste, as the photo is of an illegal, tacky sign plopped in the middle of a sidewalk on Alamo Plaza.
He speaks some Japanese, I think. And he appears fluent in Russian, at least as far as I can tell from trying to read his comments. Even though I rudely never respond to his comments – one of my numerous excuses being my ignorance of the Russian language – he never wavers in his loyalty.
With only a little research, I found out why he speaks Russian:
“Without Spam, we wouldn’t have been able to feed our army.”
Nikita Khrushchev, ‘Khrushchev Remembers’ (1970)
According to www.spam.com, more than 100 million cans of Spam were shipped out to feed the Allied troops during World War II, which, under the lend-lease program, included those of the USSR.
Yes, Spam the man is my number one fan (Sorry, Hormel, I just don’t get the all-caps thing.).
So, here’s Spammy, as Hormel affectionately calls him >
The one-billionth can of Spam was produced in 1959.
I thought Spam disappeared from the shelves as soon as babyboomers entered adolescence.
Until today, I assumed a can of Spam was like the tin of fruitcake described by Johnny Carson:
There is only one fruitcake in the world, and people keep sending it to each other.
But I was so mistaken. I underestimated Spam’s resiliency. According to this frightening statistic on foodreference.com, 3.6 cans of Spam are consumed every second.
I also underestimated his versatility. Spam is oh so much more than something served simply sliced straight out of the can.
According to the official website, Spam has taken on an international flair to suit our changing palates. The combinations are beyond your wildest dreams (or worst nightmares?). Do you like green eggs and Spam?
I will spare you the glossy photos of the outcomes, but a few recipes Hormel proudly shares are polenta topped with Spam and black bean salsa, Spam wontons, Spam musubi and huevos Spamcheros. But come November, you probably just want to rely on that all-American favorite, “Spamsgiving Day Delight.”
The most amazing thing I found out about my fan Spam today is why he has a layer of jiggly jelly. I assumed it was for long-term preservation so he could be stored in bomb shelters. But the preservative in Spam is simply sodium nitrate, about which Hormel strives to make you feel good:
Small amounts of sodium nitrate are found in delicious meats like hot dogs…. It helps preserve the pink color of meat. And no one likes gray meat.
No, the real reason is Spam actually is cooked directly in the can. So naturally his fat rises to the top. Cooking and cooling a can of Spam is as time-consuming as cooking a turkey; it takes Hormel three hours.
So, Spam, my fan. It was good to get to know more about you today. I think it’s wise wordpress.com screens out thousands of your clicks on my blog. The sheer numbers might go to my head, encouraging me to post more often.
And happy birthday, you old-75-year-old you. You don’t look a day older than the day you were first canned.
Just please, don’t wear your birthday suit around me. Keep your can about you. I want to have something to pass down to my grandchildren.