Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Spam - Yummy!

I am a healthy food fanatic, selecting only lean meats, nothing in a form that doesn’t occur in nature, organic produce and whole grains whenever possible. I cook with olive oil (kalamata olive oil from Greece is the best), I never fry, and I’m just as picky when ordering out in restaurants. I have tried now for two years to impose this food philosophy on Jill and Linley, with some, albeit situational, success. Yet last night, as my brother and I reminisced about what we used to eat when Mom ruled the kitchen, Jill overheard us rave about a meal from the 70’s, when Spam was king – Calico Eggs. She had to have a taste of what we described while foaming at the mouth and moaning in delight as the memory cells in our bellies cried for this blast from the past. It was too late to turn back, to question our impulse, to challenge our cravings; dinner was planned.

Calico Eggs is a sinful delight, a fat-laden, cholesterol-escalating high sodium on-the-cover-of-a-30-year-old-Better-Homes-and-Gardens-magazine food spectacle. Mom used to make it for breakfast, and when we were lucky, now and then for dinner, when it would linger in our gullets for hours before being disturbed the next day by some lesser than meal falling onto it in our stomachs. I remember eating it with a smile on my face and a watchful eye on the table to make sure no one got more than their due share. As the oldest child, it was understood if anyone could not eat their entire share, what remained would be mine (perhaps this explains my adult struggle to keep my body mass index out of the triple digits).

So David and I went to work, enthusiastically shopping for our ingredients and then running home to get started. I chopped the Spam and onions into little cubes while he peeled and chopped the hardboiled eggs. We mixed everything together and then spooned the blessed mixture onto the split English muffins (here I had to depart from tradition – I did buy whole wheat), and popped them into the oven. We also threw in a whole bag of tater tots for good measure. We were set; in 20 minutes we would go down memory lane for a bite of something neither of us had had in our mouths for over twenty years.

Jill set the table and we called the girls down for the eagerly anticipated meal. We all dove in and within seconds, moans of joy filled the air. Meagan, not having watched us prepare the meal nor heard anything of its ingredients, went on and on that it was the best thing she had ever tasted. She even went back for seconds. A few of these cheesy ham & egg medallions were left over and we immediately flew into heated disagreement about who would get to reheat one for breakfast in the morning. It was that good. The only thing better was not having to explain to the girls where Spam comes from.

Calico Eggs

Yield: 6 Servings
4 hard boiled eggs; coarsely chopped
1.5 cup diced Spam
1 cup Cheddar cheese; shredded
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp. Celery seed
Salt & pepper to taste
Mayonnaise and mustard, just enough to bind ingredients
English muffins, split

Combine all the ingredients; mix well. Spoon onto muffins. Put on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until the cheese melts and the edges of the muffins look a little toasty.

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