Grief Eating: Spamsilog

Last Tuesday, a friend died unexpectedly. On Wednesday I sat in bed until noon. When I finally got up, I opened my fridge, surveyed its contents, and seeing the container of leftover white rice, I decided to make Spamsilog.

First, I smashed some garlic cloves and chopped them, then heated the pieces in olive oil. When the garlic turned fragrant, I dumped the old rice into the pan, breaking up chunks to make garlic rice, similar to the way Brian blogged about it. With a wooden spatula, I turned the rice over and over, pressing down on it sometimes. The longer you wait, the crispier the rice becomes — a reward for patience. A ways into the frying, I thought to add some green onions and hastily snipped a length of some that had been re-growing in a jar.

As the rice cooked, I asked my spouse H to slice Spam. I always keep a can of Spam in the pantry, though I don’t eat it much these days. It’s there for emergencies. Now it felt like an emergency. As I browned the slices of Spam in a cast iron pan, H said, “You’ve made this before, huh?”

To complete the meal, I fried eggs, plated them with the garlic rice and Spam slices, added a bit of kimchi and nori. I ate some of it with a fork and some of it in tiny taco form with the nori serving as the shell.

I don’t know why this particular meal is comforting to me (beyond the fact that it’s delicious and egg and rice are always comforting and are staples of my diet). This is not really what I grew up eating, but I ate things like this when I didn’t have much money. There was a lot Spam kimchi fried rice in my 20s. I lost someone in my 20s too, and I spent much of that decade depressed.

I am making the things I ate in another sad, uncertain time. But maybe that doesn’t mean much. Cooking something familiar calms. You eat the foods you crave. It’s just that simple, to listen to yourself in this time of grief.


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