As in all company museums there is always the history behind how the company started, its meager and humble beginnings, etc. While that is certainly true of Hormel there is so much more. Some of you may not be aware of how important Spam was in feeding our troops during WWII and the Korean war. A large part of the museum is dedicated to that part of history.
In fact, military personnel were so weary of eating Spam that after WWII Jay Hormel developed a very clever marketing plan to get Spam into the average American kitchen and onto our dinner plates.
Jay heard former military musicians jamming after work and it gave him the idea to form what was called "The Hormel Girls". It was a 60 piece ensemble of women, mostly former military musicians, who traveled and marketed Hormel products. They travelled in car caravans and went to grocery stores, refilled stores shelves, went door to door handing out coupons and tickets to their shows, and then performed live shows on Saturdays that went out over America's radio broadcast systems. Because these women were former military musicians they were naturally excellent musicians, marchers, physically in good shape, well trained and able to perform well together.
This whole part of the Hormel/Spam history was totally new to me! I found this so fascinating. Here is a video of a Hormel girl being interviewed. It's about ten minutes long but includes a lot of history. I encourage you to watch it.... (you might need to turn the sound up on the video itself, I did)
We grew up eating Spam occasionally in my family. My Mom would fry it, sliced and serve it along with fried potatoes and I'm not ashamed to say that we ate it. I know some people won't admit to liking it or eating it. Sometimes we ate it glazed and spiced like it used to be pictured on the front of the can.
My Dad always mentioned eating a lot of it in the Navy....but that didn't keep him from eating it at home. However, he wouldn't eat peas and when I asked him why he would always say, " I had too many of them growing up." lol :)
So, there's my history lesson for today. Hope you enjoyed it and learned something new! Did you eat Spam growing up? How was it served And, do you know which state has the highest Spam consumption?
The museum is free, by the way, so if you're in the area - stop in and look around. :)
Edited later: Here is another interesting article about the Hormel Girls if you would like to know more.