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SPAM is a canned meat product made by the Hormel Foods Corporation company that has entered into folklore. SPAM luncheon meat is also used as an artistic medium in SPAM carving contests.

The labeled ingredients on the original SPAM are chopped pork shoulder meat with ham meat added, salt, water, sugar and sodium nitrite[?].

A Hormel official once stated that the original source of the name SPAM was "Shoulder of Pork And haM". Other explanations of the origin of the term include "SPiced hAM", "Spiced Pork And haM", "Specially Processed Army Meat"; the current official expansion is the acronym "Specially Processed Assorted Meat" as the SPAM Lite variety contains both pork and chicken meat.

According to Hormel's trademark guidelines, you should spell SPAM with all capital letters and treat the mark as an adjective, following it with a more generic descriptor, for example "SPAM luncheon meat".

A little known religion called Spammism worships the meat. It may just be an Internet joke, though.

Not everyone likes SPAM cold, which is how you would eat any other luncheon meat. Fried SPAM ('SPAM fritters') is much more popular.

SPAM was one of the few meats excluded from the British food rationing that began in World War II and continued for a number of years after the war and the British grew heartily tired of it.

Monty Python

SPAM was the subject of a well-known and much-loved Monty Python sketch, in which various customers of a cafe requested a meal without SPAM. Inevitably, all of the comestibles available came with varying quantities of SPAM. The sketch reflected British rationing policies, in which SPAM was one of the few meats always available. Towards the end of the sketch a song, satirical in nature, was sung, extolling the dubious virtues of SPAM, with a repeated chorus:

Lovely SPAM, wonderful SPAM!


The endless repetition of the word in the song led to the use of the term spamming for unsolicited commercial E-mail. Concerned by what might have been a widespread violation of their trademark to the SPAM logo, Hormel consulted with trademark lawyers. They eventually reached a compromise solution, which the company prominently displays on its Web site:

"We do not object to use of this slang term to describe UCE (unsolicited commercial email), although we do object to the use of our product image in association with that term. Also, if the term is to be used, it should be used in all lower-case letters to distinguish it from our trademark SPAM, which should be used with all uppercase letters."

Hormel is on record as deploring the sending of junk e-mails. The only SPAM they want you to get is their delicious meat product.

See also: Spamming

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