Food & Drink

Eat like Obama: Just say “Spam pecan”

You voted for Obama.

You embraced change for Obama.

Now eat like Obama.

Here, a brief guide to why the president-elect and his fellow Hawaiians love Spam, how to fake a Hawaiian dish that you're not really going to cook, where to buy the appropriate exorbitantly priced Obama cookie, and finally, how to top it all off with a scoop of high-butterfat hope.

What's the deal with Hawaiians and Spam cuisine, anyway?

Fresh meat was scarce during World War II, and Spam was a staple in soldiers' rations. It crossed over to become popular with civilians, too. It was portable and required no refrigeration. Hawaii hosts an annual Spam Jam in the way that Kentucky's Owensboro hosts International Bar-B-Q Festival in May.

Whereas mainlanders look at severe weather and stock up on milk and bread, Hawaiians look at severe weather and buy Spam and rice. The wisdom of the 50th state on this score cannot be disputed. Hawaiians consume nearly 6 million cans of the canned pork product each year, or almost six cans for every man, woman and child.

What's this Hawaiian dichotomy between fresh, healthy foods and loco moco, which looks like what might happen if a Burger King slammed into a Waffle House during a thunderstorm of Heinz brown gravy?

Loco moco is associated with surfer culture, which calls for a source of quick, dense, cheap nutrition. Loco moco is rice topped with a big hamburger patty and a fried egg and covered with brown gravy, often served with a side of macaroni salad. We in Kentucky would slap that right down our gullets, then call for a dessert menu.

Where is the Obama cuisine for those who aren't going to bother with too much cooking?

Make yourself a Spam musubi (pronounced mu-soo-BEE) just like the president-elect had on his recent Hawaii vacation.

Spam musubi is a snack made of molded sticky rice topped with a slice of Spam and tied together — or sometimes wrapped entirely — in seaweed. OK, so we in the heartland aren't exactly rolling in seaweed. Reach across cultures and make yourself a spam musubi burrito by wrapping your spam and sticky rice in a tortilla.

Where can you get cookies that look like the Obamas?

Max and Benny's Restaurant/Deli/Bakery in Northbrook, Ill.,, also produces cookies shaped and frosted to look like Abraham Lincoln and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. They cost $1.75 to $4.95 each and are available in lots as small as eight.

Instead of cookies that look likethe Obamas, could I get some cookies that the Obamas like?

Chocolate-chunk cookies beloved by the Obama family, in particular daughters Malia and Sasha, are available from Baby Boomers Café in Des Moines, Iowa. Buy them for $11 a dozen plus shipping at the café Web site,

How about a food product that reminds me of the phrase “Yes We Can”?

Ben & Jerry's has created a flavor in honor of the new president: “Yes Pecan,” which the company describes as “amber waves of buttery ice cream with roasted non-partisan pecans.”