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High Gas Prices + Food Prices = More SPAM!

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SPAM sales are on the rise. / Photo by freezelight via flickr.

When I was growing up, SPAM made an appearance on our kitchen table more times than I care to remember. We could afford other meats, but the pink meat-in-a-can was a kind of tradition for my parents, who were fed the stuff after the American GIs left the Philippines. (I guess they forgot their SPAM on purpose?) I remember having SPAM sandwiches in my lunchbox and getting ridiculed quizzed by my Fluffernutter-eating classmates.

But my family’s palate improved – and I haven’t tasted or seen a piece of SPAM in more than 20 years. And I haven’t thought much about the mix of pork shoulder and ham block in ages. Until this week. SPAM has been all over the media.

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It seems that there’s a SPAM resurgence of sorts. (Or at least that's what Hormel wants us to believe, so says the NYT Freakonomics blog.) Rising gas prices and food costs have taken a dent many household budgets. How else can you explain Hormel’s boost in profit? From the New York Times:

Hormel Foods reported a 14 percent rise in quarterly profit on Thursday, helped by the popularity of its refrigerated foods and better sales of its Spam lunch meat, Hormel chili and Dinty Moore stew.

SPAM? Dinty Moore? What’s up next for the American table? Vienna Sausages in a blanket? Deviled Ham? People, time you're at Ralphs, please remember there are other cost-effective protein alternatives to canned meat products: Eggs. Tofu. Peanut butter. Beans. Dairy.

Stay away from the mystery meat. Even if you try to pretty it up -- like in musubi -- at the end of the day, really, it's still a slice of SPAM.

Now, Fluffernutter sandwiches are a different story.