Today’s dish I’ll be preparing is Rice with Spam. This is a very basic meal, but versatile and adaptable. The staple ingredients provide essential survival nutrients that are easy to prepare and eat. Especially for those on-the-go times when you’re chasing down looters, or running from biker gangs.
First, everyone should have some rice on hand. It’s dirt cheap, stores easily and prepares quickly. My Hawaiian grandmother had a fancy stainless steel rice cooker, and I currently use a cheap plastic microwave cooker. But in the apocalypse, just a standard pot with lid will work fine. Remember the basic 2 to 1 ratio of water to rice. Boil for 20 minutes. Pretty much idiot proof.
Since this is The Apocalypse, good water may be hard to find. If you don’t have purification drops, boil or filter the water BEFORE use. Or alternatively, a couple of drops of chorine per gallon will kill most stuff. No guarantees. You are responsible for your own survival.
Some salt may help with the chlorine taste. Add a couple of pinches to the rice. If you mix in some oil, that may help with sticking as well. Always have some of those items on hand, they keep forever and come in handy. A handful of spices and seasoning certainly helps. If you bought a 50 pound bag (or 2, like me), plain rice does get… boring. After fighting off riotous gangs, you may not feel like eating. Spice things up!
I’m suggesting Spam in this recipe, because it’s fun and tasty (even if it is cliché). Canned meat keeps for three years (or more if you press your luck). A better item to have on hand would be freeze dried ground meat substitute crumbles. Those keep for ten years, and can be portioned easy. But they do not taste nearly as good as Spam.
You can add the Spam as-is to the cooked rice. Just dice it into appropriately small chunks so everyone gets some pork shoulder and ham goodness. However, you may be doing battle in The Wasteland, but that does not make you a savage. Putting a nice sear on that scrumptious pink meat will put a smile on any dirty, gore-smeared face. After cooking the rice, simply place the rice in a bowl and brown the meat in the rice pot. Mix the rice back in the pot (with a couple of spoons of water) to transfer the Spammy flavor. Or, kebob the meat on a skewer and sear over an open flame.
Just a quick note about open flames: Don’t be That Guy that died from carbon monoxide poisoning by cooking indoors. Unless your stove hood is venting outside, cook outside. How embarrassing would it be to die during the Apocalypse with your head over a pot of rice? You may upset the other survivors, and ruin their appetites. Bad form.
You may not have any Spam, and didn’t buy any meat crumbles prior to The Collapse. So here’s some substitutes. Everyone thinks that they will subsist on roaming herds of deer… ain’t gonna happen. Bambi and her pals will be gone in a week, two max (besides, venison is kind-of dry). Think smaller. You probably don’t know how to make a snare trap, so use a small rifle to get you a rabbit, or a squirrel. If you can shoot straight. If you can fish, or make a fish trap, there you go.
There are other “non-traditional” sources of protein to add to your rice. There won't be much "road kill" after the cars start running out of gas, but racoons and opossums are pretty meaty. And fairly slow. Even if you are a maicured cubicle critter, even you can snag one of those. And, flogging a dead horse (more protien!), you may not "like" guns, but it's much easier shooting a 'coon than it is trying to chase one. Same goes for crows. They are smart, and will not let you sneak-up on them. Black chicken, yum. Also, keep a close eye on your pets.
Insects can do in a pinch. A pich or two of ants, perhaps. Our local ballpark serves crickets on a kebob. There's also "disco rice". Honestly, I'll hunt all day for the last greasy opossum before I crunch bugs.
Of course, I would be remiss not to at least mention "long pig" or "hairless goat". I'm not suggesting nor advocating this, just sayin' it's an option. There's a lot around, and it's easier to get than deer. Like most of the alternate sources listed above, it's a dark meat. Tenderize and season well before adding to the rice. If you shred it, you may be able to pass it off as rabbit.
I mentioned spices earlier. Soy sauce keeps a real long time, but being a liquid makes it bulky and heavy. I suggest a dry seasoning meledy. I make my own Jerk seasoning. The allspice, bonnet peppers and salt in it act as a natural preservative. The paprika in Adobo helps preserve food as well. Once out of the can, your Spam will not keep long. And neither will any "alternative" meat sources (except the soy crumbles, yay Vegans!).
I like my Spam and Rice "neat", but since this is the Apocalypse, you need to keep healthy. Eat your veggies. Since the Piggly Wiggly is closed and will probably never re-open, you're in a pickle without cucumbers. If you have a veggie garden, gaurd it. Everyone should have some packs of seeds stashed away (Hell, they are like $1.89 apeice). Just remember to rotate them every year or two. And make sure they are non-hybrid, so they will reproduce. I would suggest diced carrots and peppers in my Spam and rice. Peppers are a good source of Vitamin C.
Conversly, just serve some veggies on the side. Sliced tomatoes are a good compliment.
An egg on the rice is a perfect topping. If you don't have chickens, make freinds with someone who does. Or, go steal some robbin eggs.
My grandmother would probably grind up some taro and make poi. She made a delicious three-finger variety. It ferments and gets better over time. Use whatever you have in your neck-of-the-woods.
If you are really hard-up and unprepared, here's a couple of freebies. In many places, you can find wild carrots. You know what carrot greens look like, right? The only down-side is that they are usually tiny (like pinky size). A much more abundant ad-hoc source of nutrition is dandelions. Yes, the weeds. The whole thing is edible (but the leaves are bitter). Finely dice the root and add to the rice. The leaves make a nice bitter tea. The flowers can go in the tea, or on the rice as a pretty edible garnish.
Perhaps in a future segment I can discuss the benefits if beans. I prefer rice's simplicity and ease of cooking, but beans have protien. And most people don't mind the hassle of washing and soaking beans, if the alternative is having to prepare Long Pig. But that's most people. It's a whole new world. No one is judging you. Until the courts are re-established.
So, keep your head down. Travel in pairs. Sight alignment, sight picture. Blah, blah. Just remember to eat well.
When the Spam runs out, you have options. Enjoy it while you can.