Blog Archive

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Scrapple and Stuff

Every region has its delicacies, unknown to the rest of the country. In Delaware and parts of nearby Pennsylvania we have several things locals celebrate as their very own creation.

While living in New York City I would try the advertised Philly Cheese Steak and be thoroughly disappointed. The secret of the great taste rests in the preparation of the chip steak, onions, and cheese. You do not cook the chip steak, dump it on a roll, toss on onions and melted cheese. No no no. While cooking the chip steak on top of the stove you cut it up and mix in the onions, putting a little oil in the process. The secret is that you continually mix and turn over the trinity of luciousness and once it is done, you shape it so an open hoagie roll can be put over the whole business. You melt the cheese and then scoop it onto the roll which you have lighted toasted on the grill. This process makes a big difference in the taste. The places in New York didn't get this. And it showed. They even boil crabs. ugh.

I used to see Scrapple in the gourmet sections of certain stores in New York. RAPA brand is the arguably the best around and located in Bridgeville, Delaware. Every year at Christmas many of the rich and connected folks of this state order a box of Scrapple from the Bridgeville plant to send to friends and colleagues all over the country. I even send it to Ireland to a friend who loves the stuff. The origins of Scrapple is debated but what is fact is what the ingredients are. It's not for the weak of heart, or stomach.

And this is the thing: everyone who loves Scrapple will tell you that it tastes good as long as you don't think about what it's made of. (That can be said for most of what we consume, I think) The grayish and brown meat uncooked is sliced from a "brick" at about 1/4 inch or less and then fried crisp on a skillet. It's made up of the leftovers from a hog kill basically - pig snouts, pig livers and other ingredients all held together by corn meal. If you like pork, you'll love Scrapple that boasts a very strong pork taste. It's invention was out of necessity: farmers wasted nothing even after a slaughter and that's how Scrapple came to be.

Leave nice feedback and maybe I will send you some.


John P said...

Wow, that just sounds delicious. Almost as good as some of that stuff they make in Scotland, what's it called, "haggis" ??

I turned vegetarian just under 2 years ago, so unfortunately I won't be eating any.

Anonymous said...

ummmmmmmm Scraaaapppppple...

Fond memories of our Grandpop cooking the stuff. Considering it's content and the fact that he liked it with lots of melted cheese, it's amazing he lived to be 90...


Bruce said...

Honestly? Sounds terrible, but I'll still post a nice feedback, just please don't send any.

Bruce ;-)

Mike said...

I do love scrapple, but as I get older it gets harder and harder to handle the level of indigestion I now get from scrapple. Still, I treat myself two or three times a year.

RebJam said...

oh my god! another scrapple enthusiast! I'll have to introduce you to my pal MC--he's been looking for good scrapple in NYC for years--

Anonymous said...

Hey - Mike Cohen here - friend of R Jamison, who told me about this posting because I'm a BIG scrapple fan, but it's so hard to find here in NYC. There is one restaursnt in Red Hook that seves it (Hope and Anchor) but it just doesn't taste right. I'm heading down to reading Terminal Market in Philly soon for the real mccoy.

Nancy Kersey said...

Hey Mike! When I come up to NYC to visit RJ I will bring up some scrapple for you!

Isn't Reading Terminal great?


Anonymous said...

I live near Pennsylvania and LOVE scrapple. I cook the stuff like my mom used to:

Slice about a 1/4 inch thick and dust with flour.

Get a big cast iron fry pan and heat up a little oil. The oil is ready when a small piece of scrapple causes a loud hissing when it hits the oil. I bought all my good cast iron at agrage sales for about 10 bucks. The new pans are too thick and rough inside.

Fry the scrapple until brown, turning often with a wide spatula to keep it in one piece.

Just for safety, I check the scrapple with a digital thermometer to make sure it is done. Use the setting for pork. My mom did not neeed any fancy gadgets but she could COOK!

Enjoy scrapple with ketchup, some folks use pancake syrup but I have never tried that. ENJOY :-)