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Pink Meat and Red Wine? Wine with SPAMô
Copyright 2005 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved. Originally printed Oct. 20, 2005. For more information go to

Veering away from the serious and ponderous for a brief moment of humor today, I've been chuckling all morning over a wine-related news tidbit sent by a friend.

"If you're looking for a gift that bespeaks elegance and taste, you might try SPAMô," Los Angeles Times writer Barbara Demick reported in a story distributed on the news wires by The Associated Press. "The luncheon meat might be the subject of satire in the United States, but in South Korea it is positively classy."

Koreans take their SPAMô seriously, Demick wrote, and have a hard time understanding why Americans (and, she might have added, such British humorists as the Pythons) consider SPAMô hilarious, and have even adopted the trademark name as lower-case synonym for the tide of junk E-mail that sometimes threatens to swamp the Internet.

The Korean love for SPAMô, and a similar affection in Hawaii, the Philippines, Guam and other Pacific nations seems to go back to the American military presence during World War II; what was then a rare treat is now a cherished memory...comfort food. And comforting it is, with an awesome dose of saturated fat that offers up 28 percent of an entire day's requirement in a tiny 2-ounce serving.

But surely there's a wine-related point in here somewhere? Get ready for it: "'It goes very nicely with red wine,' added another shopper, Kim Hwa Yeon."

Tell me this world isn't globalizing fast. And the moral of the sermon, of course, is that it's possible to find a friendly wine companion for just about anything you can eat. I'd look to simple, fruity and accessible reds with SPAMô, seeking the same type of wines that I'd serve with ham: Beaujolais, lighter Pinot Noir, Loire Cabernet Franc or the fruitier sort of Italian reds such as Valpolicella or Bardolino.

Or rose, of course. After all, the logical extension of the classic rule might be "pink wine with pink meat." Finally, don't overlook the possibility that this may just be the time and place to reconsider White Zinfandel. If you're willing to put SPAMô on your dinner table, why not go the full Monty...Python?


The Los Angeles Times Website requires registration, as does the Minneapolis Star-Tribune version that my friend sent. Here's a link to the same story in The Seattle Times, though, which should be accessible without an extended sign-on process: Seattle Times

This is the Website of Monty Python's Spamalot, the funniest Broadway musical it has been my pleasure to enjoy in the past decade: Spamalot

Here is the Hormel Company's Official Spam page, complete with a musical background that's not from the Pythons: SPAMô

And finally, before you rush out and chow down, you might want to take a look at the nutritional analysis of Spam: SPAMô Nutrition Facts


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