SPAM, the canned pork patty, was first released in 1937 by Hormel Foods. While its ingredients are straightforward (pork, water, salt, potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrate), the acronym SPAM has sparked curiosity. Some social media users have concocted their own theories, such as "Salt Preserves Any Meat."
"What does SPAM stand for? Salty Piece A' Meat?" theorized another.
"I often conjectured that 'Spam' was an acronym for 'Spoiled Ham,'" joked one armchair gourmet, while one Twitter wit quipped, "I just learned that SPAM is an acronym for Sizzle Pork And Mmm."
Others invoked the old Bill Engvall joke that SPAM stands for "stuff posing as meat."
Other pervasive misconceptions included "scientifically processed animal matter," and "shoulder of pork and ham.
Some flabbergasted commenters weren't aware that SPAM stood for anything. "I was today years old when I learned that SPAM is an acronym," one said.
As it runs out, SPAM is actually a portmanteau of "spiced ham" that actor Ken Daigneau, the brother of a Hormel executive, dreamed up during a naming contest, Time reported.
Daigneau spits out "Spam" as if "it were nothing at all," company founder Jay Hormel told New Yorker writer Brendan Gill in 1945, according to Eater. "I knew then and there that the name was perfect."
SPAM hit shelves on July 5, 1937, helping fill the much-needed cheap eats void created during the Great Depression, per the Hormel Foods website.
During World War 2, SPAM gained popularity for its long shelf life, enabling worldwide shipping. It is now available in 44 countries and has transitioned from an affordable canned food to haute cuisine. In NYC, SPAM-infused dishes like SPAM fried rice with seared ahi tuna debuted at Sushi Ko in 2014. Additionally, a McDonald's manager once claimed that Grimace, the purple mascot, represents a giant taste bud, causing a stir.