Veterans’ Day: When Pigs Fly

By on November 11, 2018

When my dad came back from his Army stint after World War II, he had one request for my mother. Please, no more SPAM. He believed he had eaten a lifetime’s worth of that military favorite. My friend, Joan, says her dad came back with a similar request. He told his wife-to-be that he had only one stipulation for their marriage. NO SPAM.

Never mind that this All-American classic has inspired such events as Spam Toss contests, Recipe contests, and Sculpture Art contests. Whether we want to own it or not, Spam is ours.

But when I began thinking about Veterans’ Day, it seemed that the most logical food to honor this holiday would be some version of SPAM.

Remarkably, I found a lot of recipes for SPAM on the internet. I chose one that seemed like it might work. I had to make a trip to the grocery store and barely even knew where it would be shelved. In the aisle where the tuna fish in cans was where it was. And low and behold, there are about 6 different versions of this All-American staple now. But the bottom line is that SPAM is still sold in those little rectangular tins with the key to open it and for about a 12 ounce can its up to $3.16. Pricey.

But hey. I bought it, brought it home and cranked that tin to get it out. I had forgotten that SPAM is best described as being Pepto Bismol pink. Another American standby that you might need if you eat enough of the bilious pink tinned meat.

But faithful to the holiday and to my readers, I cooked this version that I call SPAM A LOT For VETERANS’ Day.

Actually it’s quite tasty and would make a good addition to any holiday buffet, especially if you tell people the back story.


• 1 12-ounce can SPAM® Hot and Spicy, grated
• 1 package boil-in-bag Jasmine rice
• 3 eggs
• 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
• 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
• 1 tablespoons dried chives
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
• Cooking spray
• 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
• 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
• 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
• Ranch and Blue Cheese salad dressing, for dipping

Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare rice as package directs. Drain rice and set aside.
Place grated SPAM® Hot and Spicy and chives in a large nonstick skillet and cook until SPAM® Hot and Spicy is lightly browned; set aside to cool slightly.

In mixing bowl, combine rice and SPAM® Hot and Spicy. Add shredded cheeses and 1 egg. Mix together until mixture is well combined. Make SPAM® mixture into small bite-sized balls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

In another bowl, beat egg whites until frothy.

In another bowl, combine bread crumbs, pecans, parsley and Cajun seasoning until well blended.

Dip each SPAM® ball into the egg whites and then coat in the bread crumb mixture. Return to parchment lined baking pan. Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

To serve, place a toothpick in the center of each meatball and serve with ranch and blue cheese salad dressing for dipping. Makes 24.

About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”