Though nearly everyone loves to hate on Spam, the canned meat has been seeing a renaissance, popping up at gourmet restaurants across the country. But the golden age of Spam in the United States was almost certainly midcentury, when eating Spam for breakfast wasn't all that unusual. In fact, there are dozens of Spam breakfast recipes from decades ago, going all the way back to the early days of the other breakfast meat. That's because Hormel, the company that created and has been producing Spam since 1937, made real attempts to convince home cooks that Spam was the best breakfast meat by publishing recipes in magazine advertisements.
Most of these Spam recipes try to play up the fact that this pre-cooked meat comes in a can and is, therefore, really easy to prepare. You don't even need any refrigerated ingredients for several of these recipes. Some of the ads try to convince home cooks that Spam is a better, tastier alternative to other breakfast meats, like bacon or sausage. And, to be honest, they're not wrong.
All of these vintage Spam breakfast recipes are masterpieces of mid-century American cuisine, and though I understand the instinct to turn your nose up at these can-based recipes, they're worth a shot. Spam is coming back into fashion, after all, so who's to say Spam breakfast won't become cool, too? If nothing else, it'll be totally delicious, especially if you're willing to put aside your airs and test out any one of these seven vintage Spam breakfast recipes.
Spam and Eggs
Spam and eggs is perhaps the most simple of Spam breakfast recipes. Instead of eating eggs with sausage or bacon, try eating eggs with Spam. As this ad recommends, "Briskly fry several slices of SPAM in a hot pan, serve with cheery sunnysides as shown," and that's all there is to it.
Spam and Pancakes
Once you're comfortable with the concept of Spam and eggs, you can move onto Spam and pancakes. Simply fry up slices of Spam, as you did with the Spam and eggs, but serve with pancakes instead of eggs—and suddenly, you've got a feast (according to the ad's copy).
If you liked Spam and pancakes, you would probably like Spam Cakes. Fry up a slice of Spam in the middle of the pan, then cover it with pancake mix so that you're left with a pancake with a whole hunk of Spam in the middle. (Hormel has a recipe for updated Spam Cakes on their website with sweet corn and chunks of Spam rather than a whole slice.)
Spam and Eggs Benedict
Though this ad from the 1940s is full of great recipe ideas for Spam, the Spam and eggs Benedict really stands out as a solid breakfast option. (I wouldn't say no to that California Spam burger at brunch, though.) You're simply replacing the Canadian bacon in a traditional eggs Benedict with Spam.
This is technically a Thanksgiving recipe from the fine folks at Hormel, but Spam Birds would be great as a breakfast dish, too. It's a slice of Spam that's been stuffed with, well, stuffing, and then kept together with a couple of toothpicks. Replace the stuffing with some scrambled eggs, and you've got a breakfast hors d'oeurve on your hands.
Spam Upside Down Pie
The Spam Upside Down Pie is admittedly intense, definitely for Spam experts and aficionados rather than the casual consumer. Line a mold with slices of Spam, then fill up the rest of the pan with biscuit dough (preferably filled with cubes of Spam). Bake it for a while, flip it over, and you've got a "pie" that's more like a lard bread, and would probably taste great toasted and buttered.
Fiesta Peach Spam Bake
This take on a classic ham bake might be the most aggressively retro recipe on this list, but since all you need to put together this sweet and salty dish is a can of slices peaches and a can of Spam (and maybe a can opener, just in case), there's no reason not to give it a shot.