“Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve fried it.” That’s Spam’s new slogan as of late last year.
Spam, (yes, the canned cooked meat that’s been around since 1937, just one year after the Destin bridge was built) debuted their new messaging in a Super Bowl commercial.
The commercial shows a woman opening a can of spam and emptying the cubed meat into a frying pan. She mixes the Spam with peas, carrots, rice, and an unknown sauce and it looks… well it’s tough to get over the fact that she’s eating Spam.
If the thought of consuming Spam is a little too much, it can be used for other things, like sculpting.
On Saturday at LuLu’s Destin, local non-profit Trees on the Coast held a Spamma Pajamma fundraiser. The event was advertised on Facebook as “A pajama and Spam sculpting contest to help ward off hurricanes and benefit Trees on the Coast.”
Attendees wore their wackiest or coziest pajamas and flexed their artistic muscles by molding sculptures out of the canned meat.
There was a Spam dog sculpture, a Spam hand complete with red fingernails, a Spam flamingo, and perhaps the most creative, a “Spamela Anderson” Barbie sitting on a Spam raft.
According to Trees on the Coast founder Allen French, Hawaiians believe that keeping several cans of Spam in the pantry helps keep hurricanes away from shore.
“The reason Hawaiians do that is that it’s a traditional precaution to ward off hurricanes, because if a storm does come and it knocks out the power, the Spam will keep,” said French, who said he got the idea to sculpt Spam from an event in South Florida.
In a 2015 National Geographic article titled “How Spam Helped Shape Hawaii,” author April Fulton explained how the canned meat is used in several traditional Hawaiian dishes.
“Hawaiians like Spam so much, they consume an estimated 5 million pounds of it a year. … Hawaiians use it’s slightly spiced, salty flavor in everything from breakfast scrambles with eggs to a sushi-like concoction made with rice and a seaweed wrap known as musubi.”
Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.
Trees on the Coast has planted around 300 trees in public areas throughout Destin since the non-profit was founded in 2015 and will use the funds raised from the Spamma Pajamma party to purchase more trees for the area.
The organization is currently working on a project to plant 49 Sand Live Oak trees along Airport Road.
“We need more trees to beautify our area,” said Kelli Harrell, whose husband, Ed is on the board of directors for Trees on the Coast. “This area is a big sandbar and when developers came in they wiped out all the trees we had, so it’s important to give back.”