“I wanted to do a project on SPAM® because I think it’s a really perfect symbol of sort of the Asian-American identity. You know it’s this like this super American iconic product yet somehow super marginalized in the country and really embraced by Asian people and integrated into Asian cuisine. So that’s why I called the project Specially Processed American Me, a play on the acronym specially processed American meat for SPAM®, to talk about that.”
— ARTIST JAIME SUNWOO
When Alex told me there was a workshop about SPAM® and storytelling, I couldn’t contain how excited I was. For me, there’s no better representation of the Asian-American/Hapa experience than SPAM®. SPAM® was a patriotic US wartime food spread around the world that has turned into a beloved staple of many Asian-Pacific Island nations. My love of SPAM® was been documented in our first issue when I presented my SPAM®Musubi recipe.
Specially Processed American Me, led by artist Jaime Sunwoo, was a journey that highlighted everything I love about SPAM®. SPAM® is like the gateway drug for food and culture. It’s culinary anthropology. She gave a thorough and interactive history of SPAM® and how it became a staple of the Asian/AsAm diet. And, she gave everyone a chance to tell their stories about their relationship with SPAM®. Recipes and experiences were shared, and Budae-jjigae (a.k.a. “Army Stew”) from The Kunjip was had.