Monday, March 23, 2009

Scrapple, Food of the ... ?


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where eating right is for woosies! Go ahead and tuck into that nice salad if you please. We won't tell you what deity to worship or what food to enjoy. But we like greasy stuff, and no apologies. Dump it in the vat, we'll have some of that!

The gentlemen in the picture are making a regional foodstuff called scrapple. As its name suggests, scrapple is made from scraps of pork (visualize the parts of a pig no one would willingly eat). The meaty scraps are cooked with corn meal to form either a mush called ponhaus or Spam-like blocks of gray stuff you fry, called scrapple.

These are Pennsylvania Dutch concoctions, frugal and fattening. My grandma was PD, and she served ponhaus all the time. She was correspondingly corpulent.

Maybe you don't want to know what scrapple tastes like. I hope you don't, because there's nothing in the gustatory palette that resembles it. Fried in lard or oil, it becomes crunchy on the outside and gooey in the middle. It lacks the smoky flavor of hot dogs and Spam. I hate liver, so it doesn't taste like that. But comparing it to a pork chop is giving it too many breaks.

Why do I love this artery-clogging, fat-boosting product? I can't tell you. I only know that once or twice a year I go out and get myself a breakfast plate with two eggs over easy and a side of scrapple.

Hey, it can't be worse than scarfing down a chocolate-covered funnel cake with ice cream and caramel topping.

This past weekend, Philadelphia had a Scrapple Festival. Apparently the Pennsylvania Dutch farmers who work the stalls at Reading Terminal Market outdid themselves, creating turkey scrapple and even tofu scrapple.

Tofu scrapple. Every bit as appealing as tofu M&Ms.

I didn't get to go to the Scrapple Fest. But that's okay, because where I live is close enough to Pennsylvania that one can get scrapple in diners.

I've seen raw scrapple for sale in the grocery store. I never buy it or even look at the label. Just like the dude you used to date when you were young, some things are better if you don't know too much about them.

Scrapple. Fried and fresh, a sin of the flesh.

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14 Comments:

At March 23, 2009 , Blogger Nettle said...

My mom has me bring home scrapple from Reading Terminal. They don't have it up in New England. She loves it. I admit to not understanding the charm.

 
At March 23, 2009 , Blogger Sarita said...

Hmm, I've never heard of scrapple before, but that's probably due to the part of the country I live in.

I myself don't like things that are too greasy, but I admit to loving plenty other unhealthy foods. For example, chocolate chips on and between pancakes, and top it off with whip cream. YUM!!! Add in a glass of milk and you actually get protein with the meal. :P

 
At March 23, 2009 , Blogger THE Michael said...

People very similar to you probably are responsible for eating the first oyster, and inventing Bleu Cheese. I think we could advance the science of humanity by studying why you'd do such a thing. Not that I think they'd ever come up with a rational answer.......

 
At March 23, 2009 , Anonymous harmonyfb said...

Ew. We have something down South that's similar, called "souse". It's got all the scraps (including whole ears, on occasion), and it looks like a gelatin loaf. My dad loves it. It stinks up the entire refrigerator. I was always afraid I'd come face to face with a disembodied eyeball (after I saw the ear).

Sorry, don't mean to project my childhood trauma on you. ::waves away the stench of memory::

 
At March 23, 2009 , Blogger Sarita said...

Oh, if you want WEIRD food, try haggis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haggis. I've provided the link because I don't want to attempt to even begin to describe it.

I only learned about it after hanging out at the Highland Games. I love my Scottish heritage, but this is one bit of it I'd rather avoid. lol

By the way, I like your comment, THE Michael.

 
At March 23, 2009 , Blogger democommie said...

Scrapple, the Ur Spam, it's just offal.

I read somewhere that the reason the Samoans and Hawaiians like Spam so much is because it's spicy and greasy and a perfect complementary dish with poi. Not my words, I read them.

democommie

 
At March 24, 2009 , Blogger yellowdog granny said...

as someone who loves fried grits...I can't say a word

 
At March 24, 2009 , Blogger Hillbilly Fairy said...

my first, and last encounter with scrapple was as a student at the George School in Bucks County. we loved it - it filled our teen bellies and it was fun to make fun of. thanks for the memories!

 
At March 24, 2009 , Blogger Anne Johnson said...

I forgot about souse! My grandparents ate that too. Luckily, I never had to root around in their fridge.

 
At March 24, 2009 , Blogger Maebius said...

As a resident of PA Dutch coutry in my youth, I am well familiar with Scrapple. I enjoy it with a teensy bit of maple syrup (which is somewhat of a travesty I hear), but never got into really Enjoying it fully. I'm more partial to pickled red-beet eggs, sausage, and other vinegar+salt based cooking from that region. :)

 
At March 24, 2009 , Anonymous woodstock said...

After visiting Dutch country a couple times this past winter, I have been reluctant to try scrapple until now. After reading this article I tried it for the first time and was pleased with its unique flavor, although I do not think I will try it again because of the fat content. I'm trying to preserve my arteries here!

 
At March 24, 2009 , Blogger Shehuntstoo said...

LOL found in most grocery stores in Baltimore...and diners. Fried hard on an egg sandwich...yum...that's a once in while treat.
homemade from up home was called puddin' that's prob the same as your ponhaus.
Good ol country food...gotta love it :)
Jesse loves it too!

 
At March 24, 2009 , Blogger Tracie the Red said...

OMG my dad loved Scrapple.

I never liked it.

 
At March 29, 2009 , Blogger tsduff said...

Hmm - I love oysters and blue cheese (Stilton rocks my world) but somehow my nose still squinches up at the thought of eating scrapple. It just sounds awful Excellent analogy of old boyfriends and things you might-not-want-to-know.

 

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