COURTESY MUTUAL PUBLISHING
Tiny gingerbread cookie cutters used on Spam give these tiny sushis a whimsical touch.
Exercise your creativity in a recipe contest featuring the chunky meat product
See the cute Spam men on the teeny sushis? That's Spam Musubi taken to a new level -- a level for those with determination, patience and a lot of time on their hands. But it does prove the potential of Spam far beyond its obvious slablike qualities.
Never has Spam looked as good as it does in the new cookbook, "Hawai'i Cooks with Spam," written by Muriel Miura, who was my cookbook partner in last year's "What Hawaii Likes to Eat."
That was a fairly pretty cookbook (if I do say so myself), but this Spam book is a stunner, if you consider the raw material. In this case, the food stylist was Santa Miyoshi, chef at Tokkuri-Tei in Kapahulu. The guy's got the Spam magic.
COURTESY MUTUAL PUBLISHING
Spam Musubi, made fancy by chef Santa Miyoshi of Tokkuri-Tei.
His Spam Musubi? I defy you to find a classier use of pink meat anywhere.
"People are saying they never knew Spam had this other dimension," Miura says. "It seems to be sparking their creativity."
Which brings us to ... your creativity.
To celebrate the launch of the cookbook and -- more important -- to raise money for the Hawaii Foodbank, a Spam recipe contest officially opens today. Sponsors include Mutual Publishing, the Star-Bulletin and Spam-maker Hormel Foods.
Enter by June 18 to compete for the grand prize of a trip for two to Las Vegas. Finalists will participate in a cook-off at the Flavors of Honolulu event later in June on the Honolulu Hale grounds. Winning recipes will be published in the Star-Bulletin.
An entry form is on Page D4 today, and will be printed in the newspaper several times before the 18th. Forms will also be available at Miura's book signings. Complete rules are posted at www.mutualpublishing.com and at www.starbulletin.com.
To benefit the Foodbank, a donation of $5 is suggested for each recipe entry. To kick things off, Hormel is donating 25 cases of Spam, and Mutual will donate 50 cents for every copy of the cookbook sold in June, to the Foodbank.
Recipes will be judged on originality, so no fair using anything from the cookbook, although you can take inspiration from the recipes for Pineapple Spam, Spambalaya, Spamaroni Salad, not to mention won ton, stuffed cabbage tacos and tempura, all made with ... well, you get the idea.
Miura says the cookbook wasn't her idea -- it was suggested by her publisher, Mutual -- but because she grew up with Spam and appreciates its popularity in Hawaii, she was game.
Plus, it's a favorite of a particular man in her life.
"My grandson loves Spam. Oh my God, does he love Spam. If he's got Spam he doesn't need anything else."
"Hawai'i Cooks with Spam" is available in bookstores for $14.95.