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Savannah Guthrie defends Spam sushi: 'It's delicious!'

Jan. 23, 2013 at 3:31 PM ET

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Savannah Guthrie defended her love of Spam musubi on TODAY this morning.

Ask anyone under the age of 20 if they like Spam, and they’ll immediately say no. After all, who wants junk email clogging up their inbox?

But ask someone over the age of — well, let’s not go there — whether they like Spam and they’ll ask you, “Which kind?”

Which brings us to the little spat that Savannah and Willie had on-air this morning (we won’t disclose their ages, but they were referring to the food, not the email).

The anchors were discussing the weirdest foods they've ever dug into (Natalie's had crickets and Al's tried scorpion), when Willie mentioned one he thought would top them all: Deep-fried Spam from the Minnesota State Fair. 

But Savannah had one better. "I've had Spam sushi in Hawaii, and it's delicious," she said. 

She later tweeted a photo of the unusual dish she was so taken with:

It might sound like a strange combo, but Savannah is far from the only person to enjoy the marriage of teriyaki-fried Spam, seaweed, white rice and, sometimes, a fried egg. Commonly called Spam musubi, the dish became a big hit in Hawaii in the '70s, and it's held a special spot on menus there ever since, reports the Associated Press

In fact, Spam is consumed more in Hawaii than it is in any other state, with residents eating 7 million cans a year of the processed meat (or "feat," as in fake-meat?), according to the company's website. While the Hormel Corporation introduced it in 1937, Spam didn't arrive in Hawaii until a couple of years later, when rationing during World War II created the need for a canned meat with a long shelf life.

Known as "canned mystery meat" to many, Spam is made up of chopped pork shoulder, a bit of actual ham, lots of salt, potato starch, water and heck, just a few preservatives. Let’s just say it’s not getting any endorsements from Dr. Oz. 

But that hasn't stopped Spam from achieving its own iconic level of celebrity over the years. Some love it. Some hate it. Some mock it. Others write about it. Heck, there’s even a Spam museum in Austin, Minnesota for those looking to plan their next road trip.

While Spam may not enjoy the same reputation on the mainland as it does in the 50th state, where residents sometimes call it "Hawaiian steak," Savannah isn't the only public figure to enjoy it on occasion. In 2008, Politico reported that President Obama took a break from golfing to snack on Spam musubi while on vacation in his birth state of Hawaii.

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