Old Year, Old Food {my great-grandmother’s spam hash}

Hello, friends! Let’s have one more recipe before the year is through.

I’ve been home for the last two weeks and head back to the mitten tomorrow. It’s been pure madness, running this way and that trying to see all my people (and of course inevitably not getting enough time with any particular one, and flat-out missing others). I am exhausted but my heart is so full, I guess that makes me as ready as I can be for January in A2.

Yesterday morning, I practiced making figassa with my mom and my grandpa’s wife (it was so cool seeing her old notes from when Nonna taught her years ago!). When I went home, I made some Jesus cookies for our NYE celebration, and that was plenty of baking for me for one day.

And then my dad then joined me in the kitchen and we got to work on his Irish grandmother Mary’s recipe for SPAM hash. It’s one of the two things my dad is king of making in the house (that and risotto, but he made risotto one of the nights I wasn’t home, how rude!). SPAM saved a lot of lives during the war, as my dad likes to remind me, so hold your judgment for the moment please and watch this video before proceeding.

Glorious SPAM®

Glorious SPAM®

Anyhow, SPAM hash. It’s not really a hash in the traditional sense, but it is delicious. The original was basically mixed up instant potatoes with spam, bell pepper, and onion. My dad’s version is an upgrade, but he makes it with all the love he had for his spunky grandma.It was so fun hearing stories about her while we cooked, I’m just bummed I never really got to meet her. Again, to allay your SPAM-fears: think of the SPAM as little bursts of salty, porky flavor. It’s good, promise.

No, this is not health food. Yes, it is delicious. Don’t knock it ’til you try it! So try it. Then have a salad, if that will make you feel better 😉

Grandma Mary’s Spam Hash


  • 1 can organic, free-range, classic SPAM, diced
  • ~5 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 2 bell peppers, diced (classic style is all green, but we did red and green to be festive)
  • 1/2 c sliced green onion
  • 5-6 cloves roasted garlic
  • ~1 stick of butter, melted
  • ~1/4 c tbsp sour cream
  • Salt & pepper

Mashin’ & Hashin’:


dad’s “Safety Last” method for cutting potatoes in half—DON’T try this at home

  • Fill a large pot with water and salt generously. Bring to a boil, then add in your potatoes. They’ll need to boil until fork-tender, roughly 20 minutes.
  • While that’s boiling, coat a skillet with just enough oil so the spam doesn’t stick (maybe 1 tbsp, if that) and warm up over medium heat. Throw on your “Glorious SPAM®” (their marketing, not mine) and brown, stirring occasionally. It won’t brown, exactly, but it will become a deeper shade of pink.
moody SPAM, waiting to get brown/dark pink

moody SPAM, waiting to get brown/dark pink

  • Add in your bell pepper and give it a stir. Don’t worry about salting this (let’s be real, SPAM’s got us pretty much covered on that front)
vegetables aka why SPAM hash is basically a salad

vegetables aka why SPAM hash is basically a salad

  • While you’re waiting on the other stuff, use a garlic press to squish your garlic into the butter.
  • Once your bell peppers are soft, toss in your green onions and give a stir. We don’t want to overcook them, just a minute or so will do the trick.
  • We are almost ready! Drain your taters and toss your butter/garlic and sour cream in the bottom of the pot before putting the potatoes back in the pot
mmmm stuff.

mmmm stuff.

  • Mash mash mash until you can mash no more, making sure you don’t have major lumps up in there. Then it’s time to mix! Dump your Glorious SPAM mixture into your beautifully mashed potatoes and stir, stir, stir, until well-incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper and BOOM we’re in business.
hand model dad, doing the good work

hand model dad, doing the good work

  • Serve. It. Up. And then judge for yourself.
I give you SPAM hash!

I give you SPAM hash!

SPAM, SPAM, SPAM-ity SPAM hash, make it happen! Fry it up for breakfast the next day, alongside some eggs. Think llapingacho-style. So. Good.

Hope you all have a wonderful and safe NYE!

See you in the new year,

Emily 🙂


3 thoughts on “Old Year, Old Food {my great-grandmother’s spam hash}

  1. You don’t need to sell me on spam! I have potatoes to use and might just have to make this. Also pro tip: Spam WILL get a nice crispy crust if you fry it carefully – James meticulously turns all the little diced pieces one at a time. Takes a little longer but the result is totally worth it.

  2. Hey Katie & Em – sounds like good ol’ down-home scrapple! Bette’s Ocean View Diner on Berkeley’s 4th Street does a delicious take on Philadelphia scrapple – all home made.

    @Em – Two weeks of world-wind visits sounds just about right 😉

    Missing you both – here’s to Spam, Glorious Spam! (a la Oliver, the musical)

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