A couple hours south of the Twin Cities you’ll come across the city of Austin, which some also refer to as “The City of Spam.”
“We have those visitors where this is their destination,” said Savile Lord of the SPAM Museum.
The museum is dedicated entirely to one food item, but it takes about two seconds to realize this is no ordinary food. During a normal year, 115,000 people visit the SPAM Museum. Even if they don’t know what SPAM stands for.
“We probably answer that 40 to 50 times a day,” said Lord. “The ‘SP’ from spice and the ‘AM’ from ham. Put it together for ‘SPAM.’”
The name emerged during a 1936 New Year’s Eve party inventor Jay Hormel threw for his canned ham creation. A few years later, it was that creation that fueled our troops during World War II.
“There’s a 50-pound crate in this exhibit. You’d have to pull it 100 million times to equal the amount of SPAM consumed during World War II,” said Lord.
SPAM’s worldwide popularity continued to grow even after the war. To this day, it’s a staple in Hawaii. Each year a large group from the Aloha State heads to Vegas for Blackjack. But they fly to Minnesota first for SPAM.
“Instead of going directly to Las Vegas they’ll fly directly to Minneapolis, drive down and visit the SPAM Museum- and then drive to Las Vegas from there,” said Lord.