SPAM recipe judging proves simply delectable

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 1, 2000

There are at least three excellent cooks in this world – my mother, my mother in-law and my wife – who would attest to just how picky of an eater I am.

Saturday, July 01, 2000

There are at least three excellent cooks in this world – my mother, my mother in-law and my wife – who would attest to just how picky of an eater I am.

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My claim is that I am rather easy to cook for since I could live on pizza, steak and potatoes, tacos, good Chinese food, seafood and homemade mac and cheese, but it doesn’t fly with the cooks.

One item I’ve always liked, and continue to, is SPAM.

As a kid growing up in the Twin Cities, fried SPAM was a breakfast or sandwich treat. And today, I still sneak away to one of Austin’s fine eating establishments to enjoy a SPAM sandwich.

It’s taken many years, but I’ve begun to live a little more dangerous culinary life. Green stuff is now, on occasion, spotted on my plate and mushrooms have become a wonderful treat. Throw in the wonderful things my wife grows in our garden, not to mention the fresh fruit she brings home from the stores, and it’s evident my eating habits are changing.

However, even with my changing eating habits, it was with quite a bit of hesitation that I accepted an invitation to judge this year’s SPAM Jam SPAM recipe contest.

Now, as I’ve said, I wasn’t scared of eating the SPAM, but quite worried about what people were going to put the SPAM with.

My initial invitation to judge the SPAM recipe contest came about seven years ago, and I had managed to duck it just about every year until this one. I tried to duck this one, too.

When it became evident that there was no getting out of this year’s judging, I sucked it up and put my new-found culinary courage to the ultimate test.

Armed with a bottle of water, and plenty of napkins within arm’s reach, I slowly started down the row of 10 recipes we were judging.

After trying the first recipe – a wonderful mini-muffin with shredded barbecue SPAM inside – it was evident that I had missed a lot of wonderful food during the previous seven years.

From the muffins, to a SPAM sauce over eggs and an English muffin, to a SPAM and cheesy potato hot dish, to a SPAM stir fry, to SPAM southwestern sandwiches, the food fare was wonderful.

Now, there were a few I personally didn’t care for, but overall the contestants should be commended for some terrific food and awesome creativity.

By the end of the judging I was stuffed and was of the opinion Chamber Director Sandy Forestner had found a new calling as a food judge – Sandy ate a whole lot more than I did.

At any rate, if asked again next year, I will gladly accept the honor of judging the contest – even if I have to eat a whole lot of green stuff.

As for my favorite this year – they have to be he barbecue SPAM-filled mini-muffins and the SPAM sauce over eggs and an English muffin. Now if I can just get one of those three excellent cooks I know to make some more, I’ll be all set.

Have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July!