“If variety is the spice of life, marriage is the big can of leftover Spam.” —Johnny Carson

 

Marking the one-year anniversary of “two weeks to flatten the curve” of the roller-coaster COVID-19 global pandemic, the world is looking a little different these days, and it’s not just the ever-present masks dressing up our faces.

Like a lot of people, the past year had its apple cart-upsetting moments, starting with trips to the grocery store that quickly came to resemble “Supermarket Sweep” meets “The Hunger Games” as shelves quickly emptied of everything from toilet paper, cleaning supplies, rice and dried beans to hot dogs, canned vegetables, pasta and Spam.

While my shopping cart was pretty bare in those early days of the pandemic, I at least managed to provision up the pantry larder with a supply of long-life, shelf-stable Spam, the budget-friendly go-to canned, cooked pork pantry staple of my parents and grandparents.

My wife was skeptical, giving me her raised “highly illogical” Mr. Spock eyebrow tilt as I walked in the door, provisioned up with enough Spam to supply a small garrison with such “Spam-dandy” Depression-era and wartime three-square delights as Spam ’n’ scrambled, Spam ’n’ spaghetti, Spam ’n’ macaroni bake, “He-man broiled” Spam-wiches, Spam-burgers, Spam corn cakes, quiche-wannabe Spam wagon-wheel pie, Coney bun Spam boats, Spam eggs Benedict, Spam-bean bake, meat and mashed potato Spam piggybacks, “Spam birds,” fiesta peach-Spam bake, baked Spam, the festive Spam ’n’ cheese “ribbon loaf,” Spam chowder, creamed chipped Spam, country-fried Spam, and the festive and fun to make Spam upside-down pie.

In a worst-case zombie apocalypse scenario, I figured I could light a campfire in the backyard firepit and rustle up a batch of retro nostalgic “Spam ’n’ pancakes over the fire” in the ol’ Wagner No. 8 cast-iron skillet.

Going old school, I figured I had two weeks of different Spam recipes to ride out the governor’s Safer at Home quarantine, not including newer haute cuisine special-occasion creations that I could incorporate into the COVID-spurred menu like Spam fried rice, Spam Hawaii kebabs, Spam fries, and Spam musubi.

“Hey, don’t give me that eyebrow,” I told my wife. “If it’s good enough to get your father through the European Theatre in World War II, it’s good enough to get us through a global pandemic.”

Two weeks of flattening the curve turned into months, and the calender pages flipped into 2021. 

A year into the pandemic, I now understand why Dick swore off Spam when he hobbled stateside with his Purple Heart.

It was time to turn on the Spam filter — and treat, er, Treet ourselves to something different. 

So I cracked open a tin of Armour Treet.

The curve-flattening possibilities are endless — Treet and beans, spinach and Treet casserole, Treet hash . . .