Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Hormel Party in 1937 Where Canned Meat Spam Got its Name

 

On January 1st, 1937, at a party at the Hormel Mansion in Minnesota, a guest wins $100 for naming the new canned meat “Spam.” If you were at that party, you could have won a hundred bucks too. It is still not too late. We can go there but need to have a list to prevent any time continuum tears.

Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Hormel Mansion Naming Party for Spam

10 If you are at the Hormel mansion, do not snoop in the medicine cabinet in the powder room. If you do, at best, no one will know. At worse, the Hormel’s have a warped sense of humor, and the cabinet door is connected to a siren that alerts everyone of your faux pas. (The big question is Jamar, how do you exit the powder room without being seen since every eye in the place is on the door. That window looks like you could squeeze through.)

9 If you are at the Hormel mansion, do not try to submit two different names in the contest. If you do, at best Tiny, the WWF champ who is in charge of watching the ballot box, will be distracted. At worse, Tiny, who has been given one more chance to prove his worth, will decide to use you as a lesson. (The step over toe hold is nothing, Jareth. Wait until you see the triple body slam. Oh, my mistake. You won’t see it. You’ll just feel it.)

8 If you are at the Hormel Mansion, do not try to take a dip in the pool. If you do, at best, the door to the pool will be locked. At worst, your dive off the board will not end well. (You see, Johnnie. It is 30 degrees below zero in Minnesota right now. I’m sure by now you realize the pool is frozen solid. A little adjustment and your neck will be fine.)

7 If you are at the Hormel  Mansion, do not laugh out loud when the winning name is announced. If you do, at best, Mr. Hormel will not hear you. At worst, you will be heard and then escorted out of the rear door. (You have only yourself to blame, Jermain. I would not advise going back in for your coat. You’ll get used to the temperature. They say it is a dry cold.)

6 If you are at the Hormel mansion, do not turn your nose up when the Spam is passed as an appetizer. If you do, at best, you won’t have an appetizer. At worst, to your surprise, Spam is being served at dinner. (So now there is no way out, Jordon. The fact that you are seated next to Mrs. Hormel will make passing on the Spam real tricky. Who knows? You may like it.)

5 If you are at the Hormel Mansion, do not ask for a Spam ingredient list. If you do, at best, no one has it. At worse, the chief research chef hands you a list of ingredients. (Way to go, Johan. Now you are entering the gastronomic Twilight Zone with eyes wide open. )

4 If you are at the Hormel Mansion, do not offer to whip up a barbeque sauce to go with the Spam. If you do, at best, your host will decline. At worst, your offer will be embraced. (What are you going to do now, Jabarl? Do you know how difficult it is to get a sauce right for ham-like products? You’ll be fortunate if nobody dies.)

3 If you are at the Hormel Mansion, do not wear your Minnesota Vikings football jersey. If you do, At best, no one will catch on. At worst, someone will discover you have a shirt for a team that doesn’t exist. (Since the Vikings were formed in 1961, you are now outed as a time traveler, Jabez. Might be time to leave.)

2 If you are at the Hormel Mansion, do not bring up the fact that Paul Bunyan’s blue ox Babe got its horns tangled in Christmas lights in the parade this Christmas. If you do, at best, people will ignore you. At worst, since this event has been recorded as one of the times Minnesota people want to forget, you’ll get the cold shoulder. (You just committed a social blunder, Jabril. There may not be a way out of it. In fact, here comes Tiny now.)

1 If you are at the Hormel Mansion, do not ask why Fortune magazine highlighted in 1935, St. Paul, as the easiest place to hire a hitman in the US. If you do, at best everyone will think you are telling a joke. At worst, you are asking Leonard Barton a member of the Ma Barker gang, the question. (Well, Jace, it looks like Leonard is wondering why you are asking him. May not have been the best person to approach. Ah, now he is accusing you of being a cop. Time to hit the silk.)

56 comments

  1. I wonder if they have a list of the rejected names.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, I’d love to see that!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m sure there was one. Would be fiun to find it. As I said to Dan, ‘Spit’ (Savory pig in tin) might have been one of them. 😁

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      1. Yikes. It’s scary how that one could have been it.

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  2. John, you always amaze me with your creativity. The story of Hormel’s naming party is no exception. I had a smile on my face the whole time while reading your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Karen. You are so nice to let me know. I appreciate you. 😊

      Like

  3. Barbeque sauce in Spam…eek! I’ve never tried Spam, have you? Great list, John!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have had Spam when I was in Boy Scouts. It was a breakfast staple. Thanks, Jill. I have to say I haven’t eaten it since. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I take it mentioning the future confusion with unwanted mail is out. But frankly I like Number # 5 the best!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. #5 is my favorite, too!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thank you GP. I like #5 myself. Of course, why wouldn’t I?

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  5. Grilled (thin sliced) Spam, egg and cheese makes a nice breakfast sandwich. I’ve also had a variety of appetizers prepared with Spam. That said, I don’t think there’s any in the pantry. If I were there, I’d be polite and quiet – it’s scary to know that there’s someone more dangerous than Tiny. Good job, John ! Like Charles, I’d like to see the rejects.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The rejects would be interesting for sure, Dan. I would guess ‘Spit’ (Savory pig in tin) might be one of them. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Probably in the top-10

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Ditto on Charles’ comment. #1 really made me laugh. Ma Barker! And, Tiny showed up more- that was a bonus. Thanks, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tiny said he would put me in a head lock if I didn’t give him more exposure. Needless to say he got the exposure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m so glad! Well, not the head lock but the exposure. 🙂

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  7. I wonder if 1937 Spam is still good. It’s kind of like a Twinkie in that the half-life seems to be really looooong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose if the seal is not broken, Spam could last forever.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Lol! Who knew? Thanks, John!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I sure didn’t know. Thanks, Jan

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  9. Geri Lennon · ·

    Hilarious.

    Like

    1. Thank you, Geri

      Like

  10. Hey, is that true about the medicine cabinet and practical joking?! So the Wrigley mansion here in Phx was bought at one point by the Hormel heir, a musician, because it had something like the largest piano in the world. Custom-built, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I made that up. There was a hotel in Grand Rapids that had a sing along bar. In the women’s rest room there was a painting of a naked guy with a fig leaf covering his private parts. If anyone lifted the fig leaf a siren and rotating light would go off. Made for some hysterical exits from the restroom.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL!!!! I actually looked in someone’s medicine cabinet once. The house was such pure perfection and the owner wacky enough that I had to know if the house was perfect was in the hidden places. It was NOT. It was appalling. HAHAHAHA. But I did feel nervous enough that I probably thought an alarm would go off.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think we have all done that. Thanks, Luanne.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Now you’re going to hear from all the people who have never done that!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. My comment would be “Yeah right.”

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Just so you know, there’s a restaurant in Surfside called Kitty’s Purple Cow. You can’t miss it, because the building’s painted purple. Sure enough, there’s a similar hunky guy with his fig leaf in the women’s restroom. No, I didn’t lift it, but a friend did, and it was one of the funniest experiences ever. She didn’t think so, but she got over it.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I love this story, Linda. Thanks. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks, dear John. You have finally revealed what SPAM really means. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Maria.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Before reading this list, I thought the most dangerous thing about Spam was the close personal relationship it creates with your cardiologist!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha. Now you can have a close personal relationship to Tiny.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A dream come true.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. And to think this stuff is highly popular in Hawaii…
    SPAM – Supposed to pass for Ham?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ham-like. Who knows what’s in there. Thanks, Dale.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not interested in finding out, thanks…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Fried Spam and eggs with hash browns is pretty tasty.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Umm. I’ll take your word for it (though I have heard this…)

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Chopped and scrambled is good too.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’ll trust your judgment…

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I liked #5, too. It brought to mind all those references to watching sausage being made. Now I’m wondering if Spam’s ever been part of a dessert. I doubt it, but you never know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think Upton Sinclair could answer that question. (maybe) Happy New Year, Linda.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out this post from John Howell’s Fiction Favorites blog with the TOP TEN THINGS NOT TO DO AT THE HORMEL PARTY IN 1937 WHERE CANNED MEAT SPAM GOT ITS NAME

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Spam is a great Christmas choice, John.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. More great history. Thank you. No kidding, just the other day I said to someone, “I wonder how Spam got it’s name?” Does anyone know what the “S” stands for. I figured out the “ham” part all by myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Originally Spam was described as “Spiced Ham. The winning name was a contraction of that. The Brits decided that Spam stood for Special Processed American meat and keep calling it that today. So you are right on the ham part. The SP stands for Spiced.

      Liked by 1 person

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