Ben Torres modified a local favorite dish to win the fourth annual SPAM Cook-off Islandstyle last weekend.The SPAM Museum is worth seeing, Ben. But bring your own food.
The 53-year-old Barrigada resident's "Spicy SPAM Balls," which is made up of ingredients used in fried rice, rolled into a ball and quick fried, bested the dishes of five other finalists. With the win, Torres received $1,000 in cash and a trip for two to Austin, Minn., the SPAM capital of the world.
SPAM played a crucial role in World War II, and not just in the Pacific Islands.
As America entered World War II, SPAM luncheon meat played a crucial role overseas. With Allied forces fighting to liberate Europe, Hormel Foods provided 15 million cans of food to troops each week. SPAM immediately became a constant part of a soldiers' diets, and earned much praise for feeding the starving British and Soviet armies as well as civilians....
- SPAM was used as a B-ration - to be served in rotation with other meats behind the lines overseas and at camps and bases in the States. However, many times GIs were eating it two or three times a day....
- Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev wrote, "Without SPAM we wouldn't have been able to feed our army."
- Margaret Thatcher, then a teenager, vividly remembered opening a tin of SPAM on Boxing Day (an English holiday observed the day after Christmas). She stated, "We had some lettuce and tomatoes and peaches, so it was SPAM and salad."