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The New Frugality:

Sales for Spam and Dinty Moore stew rose by double-digit percentage increases in the quarter that ended Jan. 25.


Of course, in Hawaii, I understand spam is a delicacy, and served up like sushi...

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Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

cook with it -- dice it up and throw it into a pot of beans or mix it with a can of pineapple and a package of rice/pasta mix -- and it's cheaper than fast food plus more nutritious.

But Dinty Moore stew? as a frugal item? Pfaugh.

More food cheaper comes from a half-pound of deli roast beef (have 'em make it one big slice, it'll cost about $2.75) and a $1.50 package of frozen "stew vegetables". Put 'em in a big pan on the stove (dice the beef at 1/4'' or so) or a big bowl in the microwave. Add salt, pepper and a little water. Heat for 30 minutes on the stove or 10 in the nuke, and serve.

Variation on the theme: make a pot of beans. Add a diced onion, a little celery and garlic, a couple fistfuls of cilantro, a can of Spam and a can of stewed tomatoes. Fix it with cornbread tonight and take the leftovers for tomorrow's lunch. Or mash half the beans, reheat, and serve it as the filling in baked potatoes tomorrow night.

And that Northwestern guy needs a reality check:

In the last big recession, in the early 1980s, consumer product companies simply shrunk their ad budgets, said John Greening, a 28-year advertising industry veteran and now an associate professor at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

But they can't afford to do that this time, as shoppers are shifting to lower-priced store brands, spending more at discounters, scraping the last dollop of face cream and buying more cheap canned goods and pasta.

Sales of store-label consumer products rose 9.1 percent to $84.8 billion in the 52 weeks that ended March 21, while the sale of brand-name goods gained just 1.7 percent to $421 billion, according to data from Nielsen Co.

"People are willing to settle for value-oriented products," Greening said. "It doesn't have to be the best; it just has to be the best for the value of the money."

There is NO difference between getting the best value and getting the best. None.
You just have to be willing to save money by not buying cheap crap in the first place.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

here's a variation for you:

Spread a burrito-size tortilla with about 1 tbsp chorizo-seasoned refried beans; cut a hash brown patty in half longways and center it on the beans. Brown the Spam in a frying pan (you can add minced onion and garlic if you like) until its gold-crispy and layer it on top of the hash browns. Now add your eggs and a splash of pico de gallo, roll it up and ... mmmmmmm.

Easily Distracted In Texas's picture
Submitted by Easily Distract... on

I'll probably add about a handful of shredded cheese (the four cheese Mexican blend) and maybe a slice of jalapeno or two. And, of course, have Tums nearby. BTW, I wholly agree with your thoughts that the Northwestern dude needs a reality check. Dinty Moore is alright, but it is pricey. And you can't do zip with it. Open the can and pour it on bread, that's about it. Now, Spam on the other hand...Ya know, maybe we should work on a book -- Spam for Idiots or something like that.

Submitted by lambert on

Honestly, I wasn't thinking of this!

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

to make a dish similar to sashimi/sushi featuring Spam.

I don't care for Treet. Janet Lee makes a good generic Spam, though.

But I used to cook (on the extremely cheap) for an office (will work for food, must bring own food). So I know some tricks with Spam.

This one's good. Substitute six-cheese Italian blend and thinly sliced Spam for the cold cuts (I could get the olive salad for about $2 a pound at the deli so I'd buy a quarter pound for one of these sandwiches) and provolone, and a loaf of chilpotle-garlic bread from the deli for the round loaf. I think you'll like it. (Also works with thinly sliced Spam Turkey).

Muffaletta recipe:
For the olive relish:
1 cup finely chopped, pitted, brine-cured green olives, such as Picholine
1 cup finely chopped, pitted, brine-cured black olives, such as Kalamata
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped capers
2 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup chopped pimientos
1/4 cup chopped pickled cocktail onions
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Tbs lemon juice

For the sandwich:*
1 round loaf of Italian or French bread, about 8 to 9 inches in diameter
1 cup shredded lettuce
4 oz thinly sliced mortadella
4 oz thinly sliced salami
4 oz thinly sliced Fontina, provolone, or mozzarella cheeses
1 large ripe tomato, cut into thin slices

* As with any hero sandwich, the filling can vary. Use your favorite cold-cuts in place of those I have suggested here if you prefer.

Combine the ingredients for the olive relish and mix well in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Slice the bread in half horizontally and scoop out some of the soft bread inside, creating a slight cavity in each side. Drain the olive salad, reserving the juice, and liberally brush the juice on each half of the loaf. Spread half the olive salad on the bottom half of the loaf. Then add the lettuce, meats, cheese, and tomato in layers. Top with the remaining olive salad and cover with the top of the loaf. Wrap tightly in plastic or paper and place on a large plate. Place another plate on top, and weigh this down with some canned goods. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 6 hours, and cut into wedges to serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings'

Farmboy's picture
Submitted by Farmboy on

Every few weeks my wife and I have spam and cheese for dinner.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Make a breading of 1/2 cup corn flake crumbs, 2 tblspn brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp ground cloves.
Grease a cookie sheet.
Cut the meat into 8 slices, coat each slice with spicy brown mustard, dip in breading then place on sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes.
While baking make favorite Kraft mac and cheese - we like the spirals.
Serve with big glass o' milk.

Quick, easy, cheap, and yummy.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

My father-in-law hasn't eaten a Hormel product since the P-9 strike in 1985. He's a union man.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

because (as opposed to garbage in email) it's actually a useful product. FWIW when I was a kid we used to have impromptu "picnic suppers" of Spam, cheese and crackers, and cider sometimes. I look at it not as a luxury but as a reasonable (price wise, flavor wise, and convenience wise -- especially since you don't have to refrigerate it until after it's opened, and the size of it means there's seldom much left over, unlike say a roll of bologna) addition to the "lunch meat" arsenal. I don't know who supplied the round cans of "luncheon meat" to the commodities program of my elementary-school years, but ... it had dark purple flecks in it and the same seasoning as Treet. Spam is way better than that stuff. Treated properly it can be tasty. You don't want to eat it every day (the sodium content is, seriously, off the chart) but you can use it in a pinch or occasionally. I keep a can or two around for times when the weather sucks or I'm out of money and one more bowl of oatmeal just isn't going to cut it.

(Treet has something in the seasoning that just doesn't work for me, and I read labels. If it says "made with chicken" it's not lunch meat, okay? Because "made with chicken" very carefully DOES NOT include the key phrase, "mechanically separated" (used to have to, now sometimes you get it in the fine print and sometimes not, along with info on MSG -- thanks, deregulators and food-safety skeptics). Which means essentially they don't know for sure if you've got chicken meat, chicken feet, chicken entrails, or some combination of the above.)