NORMAN — Unique Spam dishes filled two tables set up in The Deli on Sunday night for the 17th annual Spam-a-rama, a celebration of the tinned meat.
The event was originally set up to celebrate Flag Day every year on June 14, but as it grew the event was moved to the weekend, said Ed Fontine, one of the founders.
Rules for the food competition require all dishes to be at least 33 percent Spam and prohibit fermentation. Some of this year’s dishes entered into the Spam-a-rama contest included Spam Bruschetta and Spam-filled jalepenos and mushrooms, which could be considered a huge leap from some of the dishes they started off with.
During the first Spam-a-rama, Fontine remembers the “Spam-a-rita,” which was a margarita with Spam served in a Spam can.
“The first year was horrible,” he said. “But over the years they got better and now most of the dishes are really good dishes. People really take pride in it now.”
As the event evolved, they also began giving plaques to those who have the most unique, or best Spam dish of the night. Amy Kercher has been participating for more than 10 years and received some of those plaques for her dishes.
On Sunday she took home the most unique award for her Spam bruschetta dish.
Her first winning dish was posole with Spam and pork. Kercher has also made Spam and ricotta-stuffed ravioli, French apple Spam tarts, and Spam cotta.
First place for the best Spam dish of the night went to Marsha Musser for her Spam-stuffed mushrooms.
Even the band, comprised of people Fontine said a lot of them know, gives tribute to the canned meat taking on the name “The Spam Daddies” to provide entertainment for the night.
Fontine said he couldn’t really say why they chose to center the event around Spam, but he did say many of those who attend were raised with Spam. Some who had fond memories of it and some with not-so-fond memories.
“It’s a little piece of Americana here in Norman, America,” Fontine said.