Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023 |
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KAPA‘A — Everything came up Spam, Thursday evening at the Mokihana of Kaua‘i.
“We have Spam cookbooks, Spam candles, and even a Spam slicer for prizes,” said Sherri Green, a guest at Mokihana. “We put posters up at several different places around Mokihana, so we should have about 40 or 50 people showing up.”
Green and three other Mokihana guests, Linda Henriksen, Barb Bowman and Pat Hyatt spearheaded the Fourth Annual Spam Pupu Party, Thursday near the pool area of the beachside property in Waipouli.
“This is perfect,” said one guest. “There’s a nice view of the ocean, the Shuffleboard Tournament just wrapped up, and the weather is nice.”
Guests bring the evening’s menu, Green said.
“We don’t know what’s going to show up,” the visitor from Seattle, Wash., said. “But it has to have Spam in it, and in the last three years, everything’s been different.”
Green said the idea for the party started when one of the Mokihana guests, Jan Oberlink, admitted she had never tasted Spam.
That was four years ago, and the pupu party was born.
“We have all kinds of parties, here,” Green, who stays here for about two-and-a-half months, said. “So, because Spam is so popular with the people here, why not Spam?”
A guest from the home state of Spam, Minnesota, said the military and World War II introduced Spam to Hawai‘i because no special care was needed to care for it and it was developed for the military in warfare.
Despite being one of the least-populated states, Hawai‘ leads the nation in consumption of the Hormel Food product, taking off since World War II, states a 2007 business article in The New York Times.
Island residents consume more than five million pounds, or nearly three million kilograms of Spam a year, an average of about six cans for every man, woman, and child, the article states.
It continues to say there are more varieties of Spam sold in Hawai‘i than anywhere else, some of those varieties including Spam Garlic, Spam Bacon, Spam with Cheese, Spam with Tabasco, Spam Turkey, and Spam Lite, featuring less sodium and less fat.
Over the years, the party has evolved to include a Best Decorated Spam can contest which can earn some of the Spam prizes, Green said.
Bowen, a visitor from Victoria, Canada, appeared and stopped to get her Spam crown, a designation for one of the party’s founders.
She brought along a platter of Spam Sushi with Mae Plum Sauce.
“I don’t really know how to roll it, so it has the black swirl from the nori,” Bowman said, pleased to find out the sushi had the proper su, or sauce, aroma.
Other entries that appeared on the picnic tables, tableclothed for the occasion, included a Spam Cheese Ball, Spam pizza, a Spam salad, Spam and Macaroni (and cheese), and Hyatt, visiting from Burlington, Washington, brought along Spam Puffs, a creation combining Spam with puff pasteries and enhanced with a sauce.
Peggy Mars, known among the party circle as Hot Pink Diva, spent some time making final adjustments to her “Hot Pink Diva Does Not Cook” display featuring an unopened can of Spam among a lounging setup.
“These can displays can be real elaborate,” Green said. “Last year, we had a full pool setup.”
Jim McGhehey took the brunt of the ribbing, holding the central portion of a carousel created out of the pull-top Spam cover, empty Spam cans, a length of cardboard tubing and anchored by a discarded flower basket.
Other entries included a custom Spam floral arrangement featuring florets created out of Spam in a Spam can, a Spambob Squarecan, a Bette Boop with no boop, and others.
Oberlink, who had never tasted the Hormel Foods product until four years ago, silently loaded her plate, the first helping being some Spam and Macaroni, a Spam sandwich, some Spam dip, with helpings of Spam Schetta, Spam Skewers, locally known as Spamkabobs, and perhaps some Spam on a pineapple to come.
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