Spam and melty cheddar sandwiches fit for a party

In this week’s Food Forum, Spam stars in a super-easy sandwich recipe from reader Patricia Rudd.

Spam. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Spam. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

I haven’t tried Spam (yet), but last year I watched, in horror, as my friend downed it straight from the can during a backpacking trip on Vermont’s Long Trail.

Spam is a cooked pork product, so you can *technically* eat it from the can, much like you can *technically* eat a New York slice with a fork, or add raisins to your mac and cheese, or squeeze ketchup all over your popcorn (true story.)

See where I’m going with this?

Without the proper cooking technique, certain foods like Spam don’t get the love they deserve.

I don’t blame my friend. We were in the middle of the woods, tired, hungry and without a frying pan. She’s going to stick with pepperoni and tuna packets for her next thru-hiking adventure, and keep the Spam for home cooking.

Spam’s origins date back to around World War II: By 1941, more than 100 million pounds of the shelf-stable lunch meat were shipped to Allied troops, according to Hormel Foods. Spam is now a major staple of Hawaiian cuisine: During WWII, the United States government targeted the islands’ Japanese-American residents with restrictions on deep-sea fishing, according to a 2014 Eater story. Spam consequently and largely replaced fish as a necessary protein.

But I digress.

As long as it’s grilled or fried up, Spam’s possibilities are endless: fried rice, ramen, breakfast sandwiches, an onigiri-like snack of fried Spam and rice wrapped with nori called Spam musubi, and, in this week’s recipe, an open-faced sandwich platter fit for a crowd.

Reader Patricia Rudd has eaten her mother’s “Thursday Nite Sandwiches” since she and her brother were kids some 70 years ago.

Rudd’s mother made them every Thursday when her father went to his weekly dinner meeting at the Lions Club in Roseburg, Oregon.

“As far as I know she invented this recipe and only on Thursday,” Rudd wrote.

Since today is Tuesday, you have two full days to grab some Spam. You’re welcome.

As a note, Rudd doesn’t specify how much mayonnaise or yellow mustard to use, so mix in equal parts to your heart’s content.

Thursday Nite Sandwiches

Mayonnaise

Yellow mustard

1 cup Spam

1 cup cheddar cheese

6 hamburger buns (or a package of Hawaiian rolls)

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix equal parts mayonnaise and yellow mustard. Shred the Spam and the cheddar cheese with a box grater, keeping the two separate. Separate the hamburger buns and spread the mayo-mustard mixture inside each half. Top with Spam and then with cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden-crispy.

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