As most people should know, the trick to throwing an enjoyable party–whether it’s formal or casual, an important event or a thrown together soiree–is to include items and foods which are bound to inspire interesting and amusing conversations. Otherwise, you could be left with a limp fish of a party; everyone standing around, listening to their watches tick. This year, while hosting a Christmas party, I realized what the ultimate conversation piece was: Spam.
First, let me point out that when I say Spam, I mean the mysterious canned meat you buy at the supermarket, not the annoying ads you find filling up your inbox. On a whim, I picked up a can of Spam while preparing for the event, and, as it turns out, this humble item would become the life of the party.
There’s no shortage of conversations you can have around Spam. For example, an easy one to start with is, just what is Spam? My guess was potatoes and pork (hence: spuds + ham = Spam). Another good guess would be that it’s ham combined with a sponge. A friend of mine took a more creative route and suggested the name Spam was actually an onomotopoeia–that spam was the sound the meat made when it was dropped onto the conveyer belt at the cannery.
Then, as fate would have it, several of my guests hadn’t tried Spam before, and as the night wore on we never ceased to insist they try it. Suddenly, the least exotic thing in the world became exotic. People feared it like it was the dish of monkey brains from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. When we finally did get them to partake in eating the mystery meat, the universal response was “slimy!”
There’s other avenues a Spam conversation can take. For instance, according to Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh once said his masterful novel Brideshead Revisited was inspired by power blackouts and Spam. O for a muse of Spam! Plus, Hawaii is the nation’s #1 consumer of Spam, and by a wide margin. Why? I lived in Hawaii for several years, and I frankly can’t explain this local phenomena.
So as you see, Spam is good for many things–just not for eating.
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What are your thoughts on Spam at parties?