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Even the best of intentions leave us with 'Meh'

November 9th, 2008 | 3 Comments »

I fully intended to get into National Scrapple Day, learn about a new food and tell you all the meritable aspects of it, but what fell onto my plate did little else but make me eye the trash can and wish it was a different food holiday. Sorry about that, but I guess that I can’t be jumping for joy over every one of my NaBloPoMo topics. Looking at the rest of the month, I am crossing my fingers that this one is the worst of the bunch.

Scrapple, for those uninitiated, is arguably one of the first pork foods created in America, owing it’s humble roots to the Pennsylvania Dutch and Appalachia regions of the East Coast and brought about by the age old frugality of rural life where nothing, and I do mean nothing, ever goes to waste. It is composed of pork scraps left over, ideally, from the butchering process and deemed too small to be used elsewhere or sold; the scraps are mixed with water or broth and cornmeal (with additional buckwheat flour on occasion) and cooked into a mush that is then refrigerated until firm and fried in slices. It is a breakfast food, served hot and topped with any number of condiments ranging from ketchup to maple syrup, or it is covered with eggs, mixed with eggs, served on toast, served with toast……you get the picture. Traditional Scrapple is made with pig offal- the head, heart, liver and other bits- boiled with bones and everything still attached to make a broth that has the gelatinous make-up that will chill the mixture firmly. Any seasoning added, like any regional or ethnic offering, is very much the fingerprint of the individual cook, but typical additions are sage, thyme and savory.

I did come across a recipe, and even roasted a nice piece of pork so I could say that I really tried Scrapple, but I’m pretty sure that my rendition was nothing like the original design. That being said, it wasn’t bad; it was like polenta slices with chunks of pork in them and since I have an ongoing love/hate relationship with polenta, it seemed to cloud my judgment of Scrapple. I cooked up two slices, probably too small, we sampled them and the rest went into the trash. So I tried.


It wasn’t that it was bad; it just wasn’t, well…..in my opinion, it wasn’t that good either. I suppose it could have withstood more bold seasonings, a finer chop of pork, maybe some added onion or peppers, something to make it really pop in the mouth, but the bottom line was simple- it was cornmeal mush and I’m just not your cornmeal mush girl. It’s not something I’m willing to work with.


Let’s move on then, shall we??


3 responses to “Even the best of intentions leave us with 'Meh'”

  1. kate says:

    Linda, I hate pate. Sorry. But in my culinary world, I don’t eat anything from a pigs head, or liver or intestine or anything that falls under the category ‘offal’. I concede the recipe was inaccurate, but I wouldn’t have even attempted it had I found one deemed ‘authentic’.

    Jonathan, sorry to have offended. Read my email and accept my Mea Culpa. Next year, please talk about Scrapple and set us all straight.

  2. Jonathan says:

    wait a second… JUST wait a second. this post is personal! linda is TOTALLY right-on here. i’m a philly girl and i wrote a post awhile ago on my love of scrapple (aka ‘lips and assholes’) – don’t take your idea of this scrapple you made to mean it’s all bad. you’ve GOT to try the real deal that’s sold in the philly/delaware/south jersey area. i wish i could send you some, but i’d need to find some dry ice!

    if you’re interested in reading our post on it, check it out here: http://www.weareneverfull.com/dont-pork-this-roll-or-scrap-this-scrapple-the-dirty-culinary-pride-of-south-jerseyphilly/

    but do give the real deal a try. when it’s all crispy and delicious, you won’t resist it next to some eggs on a sunday morning. and most scrapple is brown, not yellow. not that that makes it any more enticing!

  3. Linda says:

    For one thing, you didn’t taste real scrapple. I grew up on it in Delaware and eat it every time I’m there. Recently I made some from a pig head – not bad but I left out the liver. Real scrapple doesn’t look like cornmeal or polenta. It looks like a sort of pate. Try again. It’s worth the effort.