We moved to Fort Knox, Kentucky, in 1970 shortly after my dad returned from a second tour of duty in Vietnam. While at Knox, my mom and dad got on this camping kick. We started with a tent that slept about 8, but eventually graduated to a pop up camper that hooked up to a trailer hitch on the back of our Ford Galaxy 500. We camped often at Beech Bend Park, Kentucky, and spent time at the amusement park. One year we went to St. Augustine, Florida, because we drove down to Brevard County to look at a couple of lots my parents bought from General Development Corporation in the early 1960s while we were stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Another time we camped over in the Florida panhandle while my dad attended a training course at the local base. That was in 1972, the same year Larry Csonka and the Miami Dolphins won the Superbowl. We watched the game on a small portable TV.
In a trip to the grocer this weekend, I noticed that Spam was celebrating its 75 anniversary, and it brought back memories of Fort Knox. Camping food centered around canned Spam. For breakfast we made fried Spam and scrambled eggs. Lunch was Spam sandwiches with tomatoes, mayonnaise, and white bread. Sometimes my mom would wrap up potatoes, butter, onions, salt, and pepper in tinfoil and throw them on the grill too. Spam was affordable camping food, and it feed all five of us.
Eventually, we grew out of the Spam phase, probably after leaving Knox for Heidelberg, Germany, in 1973. When the four hurricanes hit Florida a few years ago, my parents made Spam sandwiches. The sandwiches seemed saltier than those they made while we camped, but the Spam was good hurricane food and it definitely beat FMEA’s MREs. (My husband and I weren’t as prepared; we ate fried pork rinds that week.) Just before the hurricanes hit Florida, my husband and I went on an anniversary trip to Hawaii. We were both surprised to learn that Spam was a major food group on the islands. It was everywhere on the mainland, and it seemed like it was in every restaurant, including the hotel. We cruised around the islands, and to our surprise, found that Spam was served on the ship for both breakfast and lunch. Passengers selected the Spam over other meats on the buffet.
I hope I’m that loved after 75 years.
Spam Sandwich Recipe
- 1 can Spam sliced about ¼-inch thick
- 3 to matoes sliced
- 10 slices white bread
- Salt and pepper
- Spread mayonnaise on each slice of bread. Add two pieces of sliced Spam, and two or three tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired.