Cooking with PAM | Pamela’s meals service diary


STATEN ISLAND, NY – Weird about that red and yellow can of PAM – it’s gasoline. Well, it’s actually a spray. And to serve as the face for PAM as it is my natural birthright, given the nickname – and June is Pam’s birth month – it might be an appropriate time to talk about “Pam,” a very fun-loving name.

Pam Adamo of Grant City said her husband’s friends always said, “You meet a girl named Pam? Oh, like PAM in a can? “

Ha ha ha ha ha – yes, I know this “preserved” sense of humor, Pam Adamo.

And now a word about the elephant in the room – the real PAM in a can.

Pam Adamo from Grant City, not PAM in a can. (Courtesy Pam Adamo)


The cooking spray came about in the late 1950s, the idea of ​​Leon Rubin and the marketing man Arthur Meyerhoff Sr. Hence this stuff – the product of Arthur Meyerhoff – the acronym “PAM”, a calorie-free cooking pleasure that is now being brought out by ConAgra.

But for Pams everywhere, all hazes broke out with decades of marketing campaigns. In the 1960s, as described by ConAgra, a crazy advertiser posted, “When you pick up a pan, spray it with PAM.” In the late 1970s, we learned from personalities like Carmelita Pope that “PAM prevents food, even casseroles, from sticking”.

Things got a little sticky for us pammers in the 1980s when someone turned up the marketing heat for the stuff. On the less harmless side with flute music in the background, we heard commercials that said, “Start with PAM … your recipes will be right!”

That was encouraging.

Years later around Christmas we were reminded that “PAM really cooks for the holidays” and “PAM just works its magic and pays all the attention to the food.”

Then there was the commercial in which two brothers played PAM. “It” became a “you”.

“Wow. How did you make lemon chickens? ”Says one brother to the other.

“PAM,” replies the other.

“She has a sist-ah?” expressionless the first bro.

In a dramatic and ugly turn of events for us Pams, a commercial break for MacGyver in January 1987 featured a rap song conveying the company’s sales pitch.


I was a sophomore at St. Joseph Hill Academy when my friends adopted the song with the appropriate gestures: “Did you think of PAM? You can use it on a grill. You can put it on a mold. It’s a thrill when roasting! “


And thanks to the Pammy-Jam there was also this little song: “You should think of PAM. There is nothing of this or that. If you clean up your pans, you’ll be ready in no time. ”It’s catchy, I admit, but not pam-tastic for the pamelas of the planet.

What is it like to grow up as “Pam”? Somehow there is always an association with food – it’s just innate.


Pam Carlton and Skippy, a nickname she got at camp for her love of peanut butter. (Staten Island Advance / Pamela Silvestri)

“At first there was more than one Pam in my bunk in the warehouse,” recalls Pam Carlton from West Brighton. “So they had to distinguish between us. I like peanut butter. So they called me ‘Skippy’. My mother wasn’t happy. But it worked for the summer I was in camp. “

Pam Carlton, a retired paramedic, said, “In the ambulance we had to bring 2-Pam, which is used for organophosphate poisoning. So they called me 2-Pam sometimes. Everyone had a nickname in the ambulance. Another of mine was ‘Spam-Inator’. “

Yeah, I have the SPAM thing too. But Pam Carlton didn’t earn such a meaty label until adulthood.

Thinking about the wartime protein, she said, “I was never really called ‘SPAM’ because my father served in Korea and he swore it would never be on our lips.”

As lifelong Pam-Pam and the occasional Pam-a-Lamma Ding Dong, people don’t always hear “Pamela” or “Pam” at the show. You will hear “Ann” or “Fran” or a rhyming derivative of the shortened name. So I just join in and say, “It’s Pam … like the cooking spray.” And that brings a laugh sometimes.

Originally my name was supposed to be Pasqualina, which means “little Easter” in Italian. That was my father’s suggestion. But my mother – who signed the birth certificate – didn’t have that. So here I am: Pam I am.

Pamela Silvestri is Advance Food Editor. She can be reached at