My family has always enjoyed taking day trips to discover and re-experience all the local fun and sights available near or around our town. A lot of my childhood memories involve waking up early to get dressed, prep the car, grab some travel sized cereal boxes and sandwiches, stock up on water bottles and head out onto the open road. Or well, the highways that divide up Puerto Rico and then trail off into smaller roads that run through the mountainous terrain.
Now, my favorite sandwich wasn’t ham and cheese or PB&J. It was something that we called “sandwich de mezcla” or mix sandwich. It isn’t for the faint of heart, as it involves using Spam, so if you’ve never had a taste for this particular meat product, you should back away now. For those of you who do enjoy a little sandwich experimentation, I promise you this won’t end in disappointment! Word of warning though, there will be Cheez Whiz. If you’ve ever had a REAL cheesesteak though, this shouldn’t be a problem. Also, this is my mom’s kitchen we’re talking about, so no vegetarians or vegans allowed (no offense! But this is a Puerto Rican mom’s kitchen we’re talking about!)
Spam has developed a pretty bad rep over the years, with people claiming it’s made up of something akin to spare pork parts or whatever most people think bologna or hot dogs are made of. I recently listened to a podcast about the history of spam however and apparently it’s made up of pork shoulder. I’m not saying it’s a healthy lunchmeat, because it really isn’t. It has a very high salt content, necessary so it can maintain a long shelf-life. But well, who among us hasn’t enjoyed the occasional slice of fried Spam? If you haven’t…well, yeah. I can’t really say anything about that. All I know is that I’m the type of gal who doesn’t see anything wrong with the occasional slice of Spam or bologna and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
As far as the ingredients are concerned, it’s a pretty cost effective snack! If you want to make a smaller batch, use the ingredients as follows. Once you’ve tried it, and you decide you like it (which you will!), all you have to do is double up on the recipe. What I like about this snack is that you can change it to your particular tastes, as happens with most of the things I cook.
You’ll need three main ingredients:
One can of Spam
A jar of Cheez Whiz (or just 2-4 tablespoons)
Canned red bell peppers
You’ll also need a blender or food processor!
To begin, you take the Spam out of its can (that rhymed!) and chop it up into small pieces. This will make it easier for the food processor/blender to break it down into a spread. Place into a bowl and set aside. Take the red bell peppers out of the can and chop these up as well. Keep the oil that comes in the can! You’ll use this as an added liquid to smooth out the consistency of the mix and add taste.
Once you’re finished, add the peppers, the oil and a few bits of Spam into the blender (on puree) to get the mix started and avoid having the blender spin without anything to chop. After this becomes chopped up together, add more Spam and a tablespoon of the cheese. Add the rest of the Spam once everything started getting incorporated together, making sure to add between 2-3 tablespoons of cheese total. As you mix, take the time to try the spread and make sure it tastes good to you. If you like a little more cheese, you can add more! Just be careful not to make the spread too runny!
When all the ingredients are pureed together, voila! You’re done! Just take some pieces of white bread and spread with the mix.
If you feel like getting a little more creative with the mix, go for it. You could add olives if you like or bits of spiced cheese into the processor. My mom added some Pace Mild Salsa into this mix with some lemon pepper powder. You could try eating the mix as a dip for pita chips if you don’t want a sandwich and would rather have it as a dip instead! Get your imaginations going! My sister loves eating it with Ritz crackers sometimes and my dad has it for breakfast with soda crackers when the mood strikes.
So, next time you’re feeling adventurous with your sandwich choices, how about making your own spread? It’s quick, cheap and tasty!
But beware! Dog’s loooooove this stuff!!