Spam! Lovely Spam! Lovely Spam!
In honor of Lyric Theatre’s production of Monty Python’s Spamalot (which you can read about in this week’s Oklahoma Gazette cover story), we wanted to pay tribute to the funniest comedy troupe to ever cross the Atlantic. And what better way to honor it than with a recipe including the humble tinned meat product Spam?
Monty Python’s classic Spam skit, which debuted in 1970, did more than marketing dollars ever could; it assured that Monty Python and Spam would be linked for eternity. In the skit, Eric Idle and Terry Jones, both dressed as ladies, sit in a restaurant and try to order a breakfast that doesn’t include Spam.
Because it is Monty Python, that wonderful combination of highbrow cleverness met with patent absurdity, there are also singing Vikings.
It’s natural that the musical about its most famous movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, would be named Spamalot.
It should be noted that Spam’s list of ingredients is surprisingly short and sensible. We expected it to resemble its poorer cousin, Armour Star’s Treet. Do not confuse the two. Treet is chock full of things like “partially defatted pork fatty tissues.” Hmm. Spam, on the other hand, includes ham, pork, sugar, potato starch and, according to the label, “a hint of sodium nitrate for color.”
We decided to make classic fried rice, the leftover Chinese food favorite.
In the canned meat aisle at Buy For Less, 3501 Northwest Expressway, we discovered that Spam isn’t just Spam; there are 12 varieties.
The meatmaker is well aware of its ties to Monty Python, too. On the packaging, there is a cartoon knight brandishing his sword with the words “Glorious SPAM!” beside him. Yes, it should perhaps have been a Viking, but who’s keeping track, really?
We chose the classic variety for this recipe, but you can pick one of many: hot and spicy (with Tabasco pepper sauce), teriyaki and black pepper. There is truly a Spam for every occasion.
This recipe, like all rice dishes, produces more than you can eat in one sitting. And it’s surprisingly good. The soy compliments the flavor of the meat, and it’s not overly salty. The meat itself wasn’t as oily as we remembered, which was nice. The sweetness of the rice nicely cuts the tang of the soy.
And if you aren’t yet sold on the pop-culture importance of both Monty Python and Spam, as further proof of the lingering cultural effect, the reason that noxious junk email is called spam is because the skit and the emails — and the meat products — are both ubiquitous and inescapable.
Spam Fried Rice (for two)
4 cups plain white rice, cooked 1 can Spam classic
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup baby carrots, chopped* 1/2 cup green peas*
2 large eggs
soy sauce, to taste
sesame oil, to taste (optional)
*you can substitute 1 cup frozen mixed veggies, thawed
1. Cut Spam into cubes.
2. Saute cubes in vegetable oil on medium high until browned.
3. Add veggies and rice. Saute until browned, about 1 minute.
4. Crack eggs into rice, stir in to combine and scramble the eggs into the rice.
5. Drizzle with sesame oil, if desired, and toss again.
6. Serve hot while wearing a Viking helmet and singing Monty Pyton’s Spam song.
Print: Eat Spam a lot, In honor of Monty Python’s Spamalot, we made something delicious with the original ham in a can.