I often watch food shows where some gourmet extols the value of certain regional foods. The food dude will eat eyeballs, fish heads, grasshoppers or jelly fish…basically anything which in some part of the world is considered a delicacy.
I generally cringe when I watch these shows and wonder how the heck can anyone eat that disgusting crap? I don’t have any foods like that in my culture. Do I?
Well there is scrapple.
We mostly had scrapple when visiting my grandparents in south Jersey in the summer. South Jersey has more of a Philadelphia influence than the rest of Jersey and scrapple was a Philly thing. Scrapple is a breakfast treat. In later years we found scrapple offered in supermarkets in central Jersey where we lived.
Scrapple comes in a gelatinous brick blob. It is cut in small quarter inch rectangles and fried until the outside is crisp while the inside is still er…kinda gooey. It is, in our family, traditionally smothered in ketchup and paired with scrambled eggs. It is delicious.
I once asked my dad, “Hey pop, what exactly is scrapple?”
“Well, when a butcher is done for the day, he takes a broom and cleans up. He pushes all the butchered scraps together, adds some fat and some bread crumbs, some spice, stirs it together, molds it into a brick and that is scrapple…made from scraps.”
That sounded disgusting, and I assumed my pop was just goofing. It never deterred me from enjoying several slices at breakfast whenever it was offered.
Then I did a little Wikipedia research:
Scrapple is typically made of hog offal, such as the head, heart, liver, and other trimmings, which are boiled with any bones attached (often the entire head), to make a broth. Once cooked, bones and fat are removed, the meat is reserved, and (dry) cornmeal is boiled in the broth to make a mush. The meat, finely minced, is returned to the pot and seasonings, typically sage, thyme, savory, black pepper, and others are added. The mush is formed into loaves and allowed to cool thoroughly until set. The proportions and seasoning are very much a matter of the region and the cook's taste.
OMG! That is basically what my pop told me.
So when I watch these food wack jobs shoveling down raw fish guts, bull nads, hundred-year-old moldy cheese and gush about how delicious it all is, I think,
“You think that is weird, in Jersey and Philly we have scrapple!”
I've never tasted scrapple & I don't think I will!!ReplyDelete
My dad is from Philly, and I grew up on the stuff. With ketchup.ReplyDelete
In the South there is sowsmeat (sic). All the hog pieces in a spiced gel. It can be found in regular grocery stores but that is not as good as the stuff from small local places.ReplyDelete
Also called Souse.Delete
Also called head cheese hereabouts. Had the homemade version several times as a child. When I got old enough to know what was in it I somehow stopped liking it!Delete
I firmly believe that if you're going to slaughter an animal for food, don't waste anything. Having said this, I'm not willing to try scrapple. It does sound disgusting. My opinion is no doubt based on the fact that I don't know the ingredients of much of what I eat. If I did, I might be thinner.ReplyDelete
Lick smackin' good to anyone growing up back then.ReplyDelete
Never heard of this, not sure I could stomach it!ReplyDelete
I think I saw a cooking show where the host attended a scrapple festival. It was served as a sandwich with either grape jelly or mustard. I guess it would be okay if you didn't know what was in it. Kind of like hot dogs. The less you know, the better.ReplyDelete
Thanks for this. I read about Scrapple years ago in James A Michener's book Centennial. i had a vague idea of what it was, basically it's a meatloaf, sort of, but never bothered to look it up. Of course I didn't have a computer then, it's twenty years or more since I last read Centennial. It's a long book, 1100 pages of fairly small type. It was made into a TV mini series too.ReplyDelete
I think I'll pass!ReplyDelete
"Two things you should never watch being made, laws and sausage." Guess we better make that three things.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad we just have spam here. I'll pass on your delicious scrapple.ReplyDelete
Have a fabulous day. ☺
Oh, and I'll pass on the spam too. ☺ReplyDelete
We used to get that at the diner when I lived in Philly, I never questioned it. And it was damn good. Then again I grew up with black pudding, which other people find gross for some reason.....ReplyDelete
That's another one for the "things I don't like the sound of" list along with tripe and cockles and sheep's eyes and . . .ReplyDelete
The name sounds all right, y'know? - one might expect it to be something like applesauce (scraped apple?), a nice dessert with sugar and cinnamon ... the reality is just disappointing! I do love your dad's explanation.ReplyDelete
Scrapple sounds so much cuter than hog offal. Which rhymes with god awful. But I wonder if maybe I'd like it; how much different could it be from breakfast sausage?ReplyDelete
Oh. My. Gosh.ReplyDelete
I have not heard the word "scrapple" in years.
My grandfather LOVED that stuff. He lived in PA and I lived in CA my entire life, so I didn't see him much. But when we would go back east to visit him, and he would start cooking that scrapple stuff...my nose would crinkle up and I'd say "Ewwww that stinks" and my mom would reach down and pinch my thigh under the table. But yeah, MY memory of smell remembers that stuff as not smelling so great. Maybe as an adult I will fill differently. But honestly I have no desire to ever smell the stuff again. Never mind eating it. I don't remember eating it as a child when I visited my grandfather. I'm sure I was too picky to even try it. But I sure smelled it. Blah....it was awful.
Never could get myself to try stuff like that, even if we do eat boudin.ReplyDelete
Dammit Cranky! In the picture that stuff looked really good. As in, Oh I might have to see if there's a recipe and make it myself.... And then you went and explained what it is. I think I threw up a little.ReplyDelete
But I must admit, I have eaten things others don't and won't touch, so to each their own. I'm out. Which means there's more for you. You can have my share. I won't complain in the least.
@ messymimi- is that like poutine in Canada? That I might try. It sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen, but it could be good... who knows
LOL.... I totally thought scrapple was a hillbilly WV food?? Jersey and Philly? That is surprising!ReplyDelete
Yikes, I think I will pass. Some things it is best not to know. You are a brave man.ReplyDelete
I used to live in New York, just two miles from the border to Pennsylvania. While living there, I worked for a grocery store chain that had stores in both states.ReplyDelete
"What's the difference between a store in NY and PA?" - "The PA store has scrapple."
So yes, I've heard of it and I've seen it. No, I won't try it - even though my Dad used to make his own head cheese and blood sausage (and I've eaten that).
Ewww! No scrapple for me, thanks. The freakiest thing I've eaten is cow's tongue. It actually tasted good but just because of what it was I had to force down every bite. I'm trying to work up the courage to eat snails at a local restaurant. I guess that's on my bucket list. Whaddya think?ReplyDelete
Yeah I know scrapple. I think every culture has a type of food that kinda cleans out the fridge. Every so often I make a sort of funky stew to use up tid bits and left-overs. I blame it on being a depression baby. LOLReplyDelete