Posted by: Erica Retrochef | September 18, 2008

MOR Cheeseburgers

MOR Cheeseburgers

At first I was going to blog about this retro recipe simply by pointing out that I would never try canned meat. Then I decided I was being elitist. What’s wrong with canned meat? (Besides the fact that it’s canned meat. I couldn’t come up with anything more rational than that.That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m wrong; the cooking was one of those weird experiences where I was not sure whether I might be killing my family.)

I did, however, insist that we use the best canned meat possible (which is NOT necessarily the “fine pork shoulder meat”). Turns out that was SPAM Turkey, or, as I’d rather call it, SPURKEY.

I am quite pleased with the instructions on the back of the SPURKEY can. They aren’t treating this like some gourmet delicacy which can be used in so many delectable ways. It’s just SPURKEY. You shlorp it out of the can onto a plate, cut it up, and cook it. SPURKEY-licious!


SPURKEY with a slice of fine American "cheese"

It actually isn’t all that bad. It tastes like very mediocre sausage: extremely salty and a bit dull. My one-year-old son thought it was thoroughly awesome, and sucked down a whole SPURKEYburger before I’d gotten through a third of mine. The preschooler thought it was “pretty good”. I thought it was OK. Buzz thought it was revolting, despite it being served with a fine white wine. (Now, canned beef, you’d want to serve that with a dry red.)

Gourmet SPURKEYness

I wouldn’t make this for anybody older than 10. It’s great for toddlers (since it’s flakeboard-made-of-meat, SPURKEY falls apart at the slightest touch, making it extremely chewable), or I guess anybody on a budget who doesn’t really care what they’re eating. I also don’t recommend making them open-face, unless you’re on a very tight budget and can only afford half a bun.

George Rector

On another note, I was curious about George Rector; while many food companies would create Home Economics experts (e.g. Betty Crocker), they usually didn’t have male spokespeople. It turns out Mr. Rector was indeed a real live human being, although the most thorough piece of information I could find was his obituary.

Died. George Rector, 69, last of the restaurateur Rectors of Manhattan’s lobster-&-champagne era; of a heart ailment; in Manhattan. Apple-cheeked, white-haired George carried on when father Charles died in 1914, but bowed out when Prohibition closed his last café in 1923; thereafter he nourished the Rector legend and himself by diligent publicity work, lecturing and writing, wound up as food consultant for a Chicago meat packer. — Time Magazine, December 8 1947

There’s something sad about a restaurant owner who ends up with a legacy of canned meat recipes.


  1. I believe the finest potted meat would be that duck pate my mom gave us that’s been sitting in the cupboard for so long. As I recall, I even suggested using it instead of SPURKEY. Not that I think it would have improved the dish any.

    The biggest problem I had with the stuff was that salt. I don’t like salt, and this meat was wallowing in it. The first bite, the sodium was all I could taste.

  2. I love your blog! I’m a huge fan of midcentury modern design, culture, and craziness, as well as a big history and food afficionado. Thanks for commenting today at!

    As for spam and spurkey: you might want to investigate modern Hawai’ian cuisine, which is the only cuisine I know of that features SPAM prominently and proudly.

  3. Historiann mentioned the Hawaiian connection, I read somewhere that Burger King in Hawaii had added Spam to it’s menu to compete with Micky D. Spam is king in Hawaii, Guam, the Phillipines and other Pacific islands. We fed them Spam in WWII and the natives loved it! My Dad likes Spam and eggs.

  4. Cleanser and I had a friend from Hawaii in college. He was crazy about SPAM and had SPAM T-shirts.

  5. @Historiann — thank you 🙂 I’ll look into Hawaii food… I’m sure between canned pineapple and SPAM there must be some vintage recipe out there to try! Like SPAM and pineapple pizza (mmm?) It might even be edible if you managed to take 90% of the sodium out of it 🙂

  6. That one sounded awful (and Hawaiian like Buzz said).

  7. I’m pretty sure that George Rector is an exact double of John Aniston who plays Victor Kiriakis on “Days of Our Lives”. Check it out. Uncanny.

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