When it comes to Spam it isn't a product I've ever really ever had alot of knowledge about. I think I've eaten Spam maybe once or twice in my life but to be honest its pretty unmemorable really and I certainly have never bought a tin and growing up we never had it in the cupboards!
However my Mum bought these for her and my Step-dad to try for tea once and I only remember that because she told me to avoid them like the plague and that they were vile. Well I didn't avoid them they just never crossed my path, until last night in my local Tesco's store there they sat reduced from their usual price of £1.70 for 4 of them to 85p and my Mothers word of warning did resonate in my ears but at such a good saving I decided to ignore the warning as I could see them in the carton and they looked lovely to me!
The fritters sit in a blue plastic transparent tray and have a partially see-through plastic peel off lid to the top of it and on that there is a photograph of the fritters and we are told in white and yellow writing that they are Spam 'The Original SPAM', Chopped pork and ham, Fritters 'Succulent SPAM, pieces covered in a deliciously light and crispy golden batter' and we are told that they are suitable for freezing, the weight is stated (which in this case for 4 of them is 300g) and the best before date is clearly displayed. On the back of the carton other information listed includes ingredients and allergy advice, there is a full nutritional breakdown chart, we are told how to cook them and contact details for Homel Foods (the manufacturer of the product) are given. The packaging is informative enough of course!
The Spam Fritters:
Well like I have already previously pointed out you get 4 of the Spam fritters in the carton. They are are 4 oblong slices, not very thick and look coated in a thickish, even batter and to cook them is simple you pop them in the oven for 15-20 from unfrozen or for 20-25 minutes if they are frozen.
Mine were defrosted when I popped them in the oven though they are freezable and I found them to really cook well in the time stated and that the batter went really beautifully golden, the batter had expanded slightly and looked thicker and crunchy though they did look really greasy with the liquid all over the batter.
What Spam is, is a blend of 53% meat and 80% of that meat content is pork and 2% of it is ham. The meat within the fritters is wonderful is you like your meat slightly salty and a little greasy (which I actually do!) albeit a little thin, its pink and moist and holds a lot of flavour.
The batter really is crispy and crunchy in the main part, being harder on the outside (though not teeth breaking or anything like that) and the inside of the batter next to the meat is softer and white in colour and a little creamy in taste.
I absolutely thought these were wonderful. I loved the soft meat texture inside which did taste of salty pork in the main and the batter was just delicious and golden in taste and appearance. I love em, they're a great comfort food and of excellent quality too!
Nutritional Information Per 100g (The Important Bits!):
Energy: 299 Kcal
of which sugars: 2.4g
of which saturates: 5.1g
Available in all good supermarkets etc.
Cost: 320g pack containing two spam fritters = £2.29
Calories: 197 per fritter
Protein: 9.5g per fritter
Carbohydrate: 17.9g per fritter
Fat: 9.8g per fritter
Fibre: 0.7g per fritter
Sodium: 0.6g per fritter
Allergy information: Contains wheat gluten, cows' milk, mustard, egg
Packaging: Blue plastic tray containing 2 fritters, covered with a thick transparent plastic film, sealed around the edges. The thin cardboard banded wrapper around the middle shows the SPAM trademark, nutritional information, and a picture of a serving suggestion with a few chips on a white plate together with a small portion of salad, and two incredibly tempting-looking spam fritters.
Who can resist a jolly old spam fritter?
I would imagine that before the SPAM people brought out this rather wonderful product, spam fritters in general quite likely were something that only people over a certain age had encountered. They seemed to vanish from the British dinner table and the school meal menu when we became oh so very correct and fussy about what we were putting inside our stomachs.
My own memories of spam fritters are largely those of our local fish & chip shop when I was a child.....each Friday evening on her way home from work, my mother would stop off there and buy herself skate and chips, and at my request, spam fritters and chips for me. We'd also have a huge bottle of Pepto Lemonade to share (who remembers Pepto Lemonade??), and a large bar of some unknown but very delicious brand of milk chocolate with squidgy strawberry flavoured gunge inside.
Though all those sorts of meals may have furred up our arteries, they warmed the cockles of our hearts and we really felt like we'd eaten something wholesome.
Imagine my absolute delight whilst out shopping one day to see spam fritters actually for sale in the supermarket! Of course I grabbed three packs of them - maybe scared they would sell out quickly and vanish from our shelves forever - and resolved to have one of the packs with chips and beans for my evening meal.
I took a taxi home, and had to restrain myself from begging the driver to put his foot down, as I was so desperate to once again, after what must have been more than forty years, indulge in a spam fritter or two.
Despite my impatience, I obeyed the cooking instructions on the packet (20 to 25 minutes in a pre-heated oven, gas mark 7, electric 200C/425F) and ensured the product was "piping hot before serving". I didn't want to spoil the effect of the spam fritters by using something as "modern" as oven chips, so I decided to heat up the oil in the chip pan and make some lovely crispy, succulent, fluffy-on-the-inside home-made ones.
At last, and after what seemed like the longest 25 minutes of my life, I removed the fritters from the oven and served onto a plate with the chips and beans - keeping my fingers, eyes, teeth, legs....all sorts...crossed, that they would be authentic tasting and not a disappointment.
The moment of truth was upon me as I sliced through one of the rather thin fritters - I could hear the knife crackling through the crunchy batter and smell that delicious aroma which I associate with the fish & chip shop of my childhood.
I certainly wasn't disappointed.
The batter on these fritters is rather thick and the spam inside is rather thin, but the authenticity is almost 100%. The flavour of the batter blended nicely with the meaty spam inside, and I was very pleased - pleased to the point where for the next two days running, I ate the other two packs of spam fritters and was left panting for more.
I would assume it is intended that the serving should be only one fritter per person per meal, but unless your appetite is borderline anorexic, I'd think that perhaps two might not be quite enough. A logical serving in my opinion for a single meal, would be three fritters per person, as they are less substantial than they look.
The batter is quite hard and crunchy, but not unpleasantly so, and they are far less greasy than spam fritters which are home-made or from the chip shop around the corner. I would even recommend that people who in the normal way find the whole concept of spam quite repulsive to try these, as though yes, it is spam, eating it in a fritter is a completely different experience to just having a lump of naked spam on your plate surrounded by salad or mash and beans.
All in all, I give the SPAM people the thumbs up sign for homing in on people's sense of nostalgia, and almost 100% accurately re-creating something that us oldies can chomp on in sheer reminiscent delight.
The only complaint I have is that I feel they are rather expensive for what they are, but are so delicious, the experience may actually be worth the £2.29.
Succulent pieces of spam covered in deliciously light and crispy batter (14.5 grammes of fat per fritter).