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March 31, 2013 at 3:24 pm

As our two weeks of spring break wound down to a close, yesterday the director of Student Financial Services and Associate Dean of Admissions, Rod Oto, took me and the other two kids from Hawaii who were on campus out to the Spam Museum in Austin, MN. Appropriate:

Spam billboard

Hawaii is the state with the highest per capita consumption of spam (the luncheon meat made of pork), but its birthplace is Austin, Minnesota, about an hour south of Northfield. There's a free museum near the Hormel Foods plant there that houses everything anyone could ever wonder about spam in relation to American history--its inception, evolution, production, and advertising. Not the most exciting topic in the world, but being in a rural state like Minnesota certainly made me think more about where my food comes from and who makes it. We must have missed a lot though because we failed the Spam Exam (6/10).

Spam Exam 

Good thing school isn't in session.

Not to mention that in the time Ryan took to make one can of spam (19 seconds), the Austin plant could have finished 133 cans. Frightening!

Spam production 

These dorks love Hawaii more than anyone, so they were having an incredibly good time. (Pat (left), who's from Thailand, went to boarding school on the Big Island, and Ryan lives on the opposite side of Oahu from me.)

Hawaiians at the Spam Museum 

Then, because we were starving after hearing about nothing but luncheon meat, we went to Culver's and Mr. Oto treated me to a spamburger.


Not as good as the spam musubis from back home, but it was something.
I’d spent spring break working on applications for summer jobs and on-campus jobs for next year, so it was nice to have a break from that kind of work. Just goes to show that at Carleton, even high-ranking administrators truly do care about how students are doing and go above and beyond their official job capacities for us students.


  • April 1 2013 at 1:54 pm
    So cool, would love to check out the exhibit! How exactly do you make spam though?
  • April 1 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Hi Daniel, thanks for the comment! According to Hormel foods, they take meat mostly from the shoulder part of pigs and mix it with ham (pig hind thigh), sodium nitrite (to give it the "nice" pink color), salt, sugar, and water. The process reportedly takes very few workers because it's mostly automated. There's more information here:

  • April 9 2013 at 10:17 pm
    Hi Ayumi, thanks for the note. It really is amazing how much technology has come into play in society nowadays. It only takes 13 people to run an entire spam plant! It's absolutely mind boggling. In almost every single industry now things have been made easier due to technology. I think it would so cool to write a blog post about this, and how technology has affected your experiences. I'd be willing to help out also if you wanted!
  • April 10 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Daniel, did you mean how technology has affected my experiences at Carleton? The Weitz Center on campus has a ton of cool technology that I haven't had a chance to fully explore yet, and I found out today that there's some awesome research going on in the Computer Science department. On the other hand, Wifi service here on campus, though, tends to be woefully bad during the evenings when a lot of people are doing homework. It'd definitely be cool to write a post about technology at Carleton sometime! Also, if you'd like to help out, you should definitely shoot me an email ( Thanks!

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