For people who care about their food

SPAM® Cook of the Year

It sounds incredible, but it’s true: there’s actually a competition for Britain’s SPAM® lovers to come up with the most imaginative and tasty recipe involving the use of SPAM®. And the entries are now open.

The first prize is pretty amazing: a seven-night stay at the Waikiki Marriot Hotel in Hawaii, together with return flights and £500 spending money. Why Hawaii? you might wonder. Well, apparently the per capita consumption of SPAM® is higher there than anywhere else in the world.

Make sure you win, though. The runners-up get a SPAM® hamper, including an assortment of SPAM® in all its varieties (which reminds me; the other day Mr Not Delia and I were in a fairly up-market food hall when he gleefully pointed out a tin of SPAM® Spread. Yuk!) plus a SPAM® T-shirt, a SPAM® mug, a pair of SPAM® flip-flops, and what looks like either a SPAM® frisbee or a SPAM® plastic plate.

This is the competition’s second year. Last year’s was won by Stuart Higgs from Chester, who won first the North West England regional competition then the national final with his “prestigious” Peanut Butter and Chilli Baked SPAM®. His prize, however, was a trip to Minneapolis to visit the SPAM® Museum in Austin, Minnesota (where the makers of SPAM®, Hormel Foods, are based).



(Some of the regional definitions, by the way, seem a bit weird. For instance, one of the “Key towns and cities” for the “Midlands & Anglia” region is Clun in Shropshire – which had just 642 inhabitants in the 2001 census and barely merits describing as a village, let alone a town. And Coldstream (and presumably other towns in the Scottish Borders) have been shifted into the North East of England. Bet they’re pleased about that…)

So what did Stuart Higgs have to beat to win last year? Let’s have a look.

  • Scotland: a “wonderful” pan-fried scallops with asparagus and SPAM®
    (Pan-fried scallops with asparagus would have been wonderful themselves. Why add anything?)
  • South East England: a “succulent” Hawaiian SPAM® kebab with honey glaze
    (Well, I suppose at least it gives a nod to that all-important Hawaiian market…)
  • South West England: a “superb” SPAM®balaya
    (Imagine Karen Carpenter singing that… no, you can’t, can you?)
  • North East England: an “exquisite” oriental SPAM® risotto
    (Oriental? Risotto? With SPAM®?)
  • Midlands & Anglia: an “interesting” SPAM® and vegetable parcel
    (Love that word “interesting”. Damning with faint praise or what?)
  • Wales: nothing, apparently. Which begs the question: why? Were the entries from Wales so poor that they weren’t deemed good enough to grace the final? Or did the entire population of Wales think that the competition was beneath their dignity?

Anyway, if you do feel like going in for it, you can find out more at the SPAM® Fan Club website.

Be warned, though – if you win, you don’t just get to go to Waikiki; while you’re there you have to attend the annual SPAM JAM® Festival in April 2010 too…

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