To this day, I love fried Spam and eggs. The crunchy and salty slice of processed mystery meat dipped in just cooked egg yolk is one of my favourite breakfasts. After all, it was the breakfast that I grew up eating on Sunday mornings when we’d all sit around the table and mum would hand out these small rectangles of fried salty goodness. I didn’t think it was that strange till I had a conversation with some of my friends who furrowed their little brows in disapproval, “ew, Spam is gross, it’s like dog food”. I quickly learned that my beloved Spam breakfasts were not as commonplace as they seemed, but rather they were an oddity. In a world of bacon and egg rolls with hash browns, my beloved family breakfasts of Spam and rice were distinctly different.
If you’re an Australian, the title of this blog post likely felt kind of strange to you. Perhaps it just felt a bit wrong or maybe it made you feel a bit uncomfortable in the tummy. Maybe it even made you angry and you’ve already skipped reading this and jumped to the comments section to complain about ‘Americanization’.
Sorting fruit may be a sensory art, and it is possible to get entirely lost in the aesthetics of skilful hands and the physicality of localised knowledge. But these depictions should not come at the cost of a loss of context, and we should question why this work takes place, who largely occupies these roles, and what power they hold in these socioeconomic systems.