Welcome Back, Spam

Amid rising sales of the canned meat, TIME asks star chefs to concoct tasty Spam recipes

Jessica Boone for TIME

Brandon Boudet of Dominick's in Los Angeles, who had never cooked the canned meat before, was pleased with his dish.

Those once crucial food-shopping decisions between local and organic became a lot less important when the recession rolled in. Sales of Spam, which comes in neither of those varieties, haven't been this big since World War II, when soldiers overseas were sent vacuum-sealed cans of cooked pork shoulder, ham, water, sugar, salt, sodium nitrite (to maintain the porcine color) and potato starch (to maintain the cat-food-like consistency).

I grew up in the 1970s, and even though my suburban menu included Velveeta, Saucy Susan and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, we did not eat Spam. So when I tried it in Hawaii--by far...

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