Grilled SLT&C (Spam, Lettuce, Tomato, and Cheese) And Your Three Dollars a Day

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“At noon the tractor driver stopped sometimes near a tenant house and opened his lunch: sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper, white bread, pickle, cheese, Spam, a piece of pie branded like an engine part. He ate without relish. And tenants not yet moved away came out to see him, looked curiously while the goggles were taken off, and the rubber dust mask, leaving white circles around the eyes and a large white circle around nose and mouth.”  From Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The tractor driver is the son of a local tenant farmer and says he does this work because its, “three dollars a day. I got damn sick of creeping for my dinner—and not getting it. I got a wife and kids. We got to eat. Three dollars a day, and it comes every day.”   He warns the tenant men that he will get a bonus if “there is an accident” and he knocks a house off its foundation.  Almost makes you feel embarrassed to share a sandwich with the man…

Grilled SLT&C

2 slices of multigrain bread

2 thin slices of Spam

1 small tomato sliced thin (I used 4 slices in the sandwich and ate the rest)

2 slices of American cheese (I used Kraft)

a handful of mixed greens

1 pat of butter

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the bread slices and the Spam to the pan.  Layer the cheese on top of one of the slices of bread and the tomatoes on top of the cheese.  When the spam starts to sputter and turn brown on both sides, put them on top of the second slice of bread.  When the bread is toasted and the cheese melted, remove your slices from the heat, add your lettuce and slap ‘er together for a “bring you back to your childhood” style sandwich (last time I ate Spam, it was sold with it’s own church key so you could open it!).  

I have to say, I probably enjoyed it a lot better than that mean tractor driver enjoyed his.

Total cost of this meal (I had the lettuce in the fridge and I had the bread in the freezer already) was about $7 and I still have 3/4 of the Spam and most of the package of cheese left.  I was thinking maybe a Spam omelette with the cheese… Also, look for some kind of “branded pie” review soon.

Ways you could cut costs on this one: omit the vine ripe tomato (not too expensive because I only bought the one, but still extravagant in a Northeast winter), omit the mixed greens or just use iceburg lettuce.  Use generic cheese (hard to wrap my mind around even typing it) and use a cheaper bread than a nice Arnold multigrain.


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Filed under Cheaper Cooking, Cheese, Cooking and Reading, Food, Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck, Literature, Recipes, Spam, The Great Depression

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