Ginger Beans with Spam

Posted on Jul 8 2009 - 9:19am by RetroRuth

Jiffy Cooking001Oh yeah, it’s that time again!  Welcome to this week’s Mid-Century Menu, where I take a recipe from my collection of vintage cookbooks, cook it, and force my husband to eat it for dinner.  The catch is, we don’t pick a recipe because it looks good.  We pick it because it looks terrible.

This week’s recipe comes from the Better Homes and Gardens Coobook, Jiffy Cooking.  This book is part of a rather large Better Homes and Gardens series, all of which were publish between 1955 and 1980 or so.  This book was published in 1968, and I think this is one of the newest recipes we have ever cooked from.

Now, the great thing about the Jiffy Cooking cookbook is that is uses canned or pre-packaged foods almost exclusively under the guise of “quick” cooking.  Instead, I think all they accomplish is vile cooking. Which makes me really excited about this book.

Why?  Because I am a glutton for punishment. Hot dogs, canned beans, spam, dried packaged beef, canned potatoes, canned sauerkraut, all of these things play heavily in the recipes in this books. There are even some canned things I have never heard of.  Like canned macaroni and cheese.

That’s right. You read that correctly. Canned mac and cheese. We are through the looking glass here, people.

But since I have never SEEN canned mac and cheese before, I was forced to pick something with easy ingredients to find.  Trust me, it is a hard choice when about half the recipes are worthy of the “honor”.

Ginger Beans

Ginger beans. Simple, easy and weird.  I think anything that has cookies and Spam in it is instantly qualified for the Mid-Century Menu.  The only other recipe with meat and gingersnaps I have seen is an altered version of the German dish Sauerbraten.  Which actually ended up being quite good.

In any case, let’s ruin some food!

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There were so few ingredients this time, I had to put out the salt to round out the picture.  Notice the retro ketchup bottle. It was a great birthday present from Hub’s parents.

Look how happy the gingersnaps are. Little to do they know they are about to get snuggly with that generic Spam. Sigh. Sometimes I think I enjoy this too much.

Ginger Beans 007Crushing the gingersnaps into a fine meal.

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Can’t forget the secret ingredient of all jiffy cooking: ketchup.

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The completed bean mass, ready for the Spam slices.

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Carefully laying out the slimy slices. Look at the grace! The finesse!  Okay, okay, so they kept sinking into the beans. How is that my fault?

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Here we are, ginger beans fresh from the oven. Honestly, I baked them for about 30 minutes more than the recipe recommended, and I uncovered it for about the last 15 minutes.  After the first 30 minutes it still looked disturbingly…moist.

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Plated and ready to be et. Notice the mixed veggies and wholesome glasses of milk.  I’m trying, I really am.

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Hubs “enjoying” his first bite.  After which he said, “It just tastes like…baked beans. Really sweet baked beans.”

Actually, we were both a little disappointed that the finished product was edible.  It basically tasted like sweet, sweet baked beans.  The saltyness of the Spam, which usually makes it inedible to me, actually counteracted the sweetness in the beans, so if you took a bit together it almost became good. Almost.

The Verdict: Very Sweet, but Edible

I have to commend this meal for being pretty fun  and fast to make.  Crushing the gingersnaps and placing the Spam actually was good fun. The end product was just so incredibly sweet and salty, that I can’t imagine it being good for anyone at all. Ever.

This post has been linked up with Vintage Thingie Thursdays at ColoradoLady’s blog! Head over there and check out the vintage goodness!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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19 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. sablemable July 8, 2009 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Surprising how many “meals” you can make with Spam (tongue is in cheek). No wonder Monty Python poked fun at Spam (egg, sausage, bacon and Spam)!

  2. Alex July 8, 2009 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    It really doesn’t look that bad. I can remember eating Spam out of a can as a kid. Hmm. Say that fast three times. 😉

  3. Carol @ Old Glory Cottage July 8, 2009 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    I think I would rather just eat a slice of Spam, beans on the side, and the cookies for dessert. I know it will all end up together in my belly, but I’d rather keep them all separated ’til then. Great post!

  4. Elizabeth July 8, 2009 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    What a fun thing to do each week, and a great hubs to enjoy participating!
    I think Chef Boyardee makes canned mac & cheese…maybe…

  5. postcardy July 8, 2009 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    I like to eat canned baked beans and smoked turkey sausage. I could never eat that concoction with extra sweetness and sauce–there’s more than enough of those already.

  6. Coloradolady July 9, 2009 at 4:13 am - Reply

    I was reading this post and thinking to myself…I bet this is good….only because I have to admit, we ate Spam a lot as a kid, fried in the skillet, and I really do like it. You are right, that sweet and salty combination most likely is not good for you!

    Have a great VTT and a wonderful weekend.

  7. Cathy July 9, 2009 at 9:31 am - Reply

    Absolutely hilarious! I had to laugh out loud at the picture of your husband eating a forkful of that gloop.
    Happy VTT

  8. Janet July 9, 2009 at 10:02 am - Reply

    It sounds like my baked beans . . . without the gingersnaps, molasses, and spam, that is. I think I would leave the gingersnaps out, add some brown sugar and cut up wieners or bacon instead of the spam… and voila. I love the yellow plate, by the way. Is it fiesta?

  9. Miri July 9, 2009 at 10:52 am - Reply

    I do make a franks and beans casserole! and it is Jiffy! no gingersnaps but I do crush potato chips for the topping…yep, it’s my Mom’s recipe from the ’50s

    Love that you added the mixed veggies and milk-very appropriate and time capsule perfect!

  10. Susan July 9, 2009 at 11:33 am - Reply

    I’ve only had Spam once or twice at my MIL’s. My FIL was in the army and was a cook. They used Spam all the time so he would cook with it often. Very interesting!

  11. ClassyChassy July 9, 2009 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    Interesting recipe!!! Very different!

  12. CC July 9, 2009 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    This sounds so bad, that it might be good. :). I also collect vintage cookbooks, just haven’t had the courage to try some of the recipes. In one of my books, it tells me how to skin and cook a possum. I thought perhaps it would be best to pass on that one..* double yuck. I applaud you for testing and reporting on the recipes.. and wish you a happy VTT..and hope you have a lovely weekend.

  13. Kristine July 9, 2009 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    I am trying to keep an open mind…LOL.

  14. threeundertwo July 9, 2009 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    This is my first visit to your blog and I absolutely love you because not only do you cook the stuff, you make your husband eat it. You are my new hero.

    (And just what are those things on the cover of that cookbook?)

  15. marian July 10, 2009 at 8:31 am - Reply

    i’ve never had spam and i think you’re husband deserves a medal lol 🙂

  16. Becky July 10, 2009 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the giggle! We too ate fried SPAM as kids. Now I must go look for a “crappy” recipe in my vintage cookbooks!

  17. Roslyn Atwood July 10, 2009 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    Oh gag, spam-never could take to the stuff. It always looked like “mystery meat”!
    You are brave souls [& very funny] to try these disastrously unhealthy recipes!

  18. Bea July 10, 2009 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    What a recipe! Puts my mock rib roast made from spam to shame. =)

  19. Jana September 7, 2010 at 10:20 pm - Reply

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