It’s an ominous sign that the one glimmer of hope that I could cling to today came in the loaven form of mushed pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and wheat flour. That was scrapple. That is scrapple.
Scrapple is a breakfast food made from the aforementioned pork mush. It’s a traditional dish from that vast land of culinary mystery called Pennsylvania. It originated in the Eastern Pennsylvania farmlands of German-born settlers and its name comes from exactly what it is – scraps. It’s formed into loaves which you then grill making it a great side dish for your eggs for your Amish breakfast. It has the sensibility of not letting any part of your pork go to waste and the additional bonus of having a really catchy name.
Scrapple is a regional dish and as I discovered, can be hard to find here in New England. There were recipes to make your own scrapple, but they had you fooling around with too many pork parts to make it something easy to make. I then looked for it in a few grocery stores but was coming up short and scrapple-less. As a last minute plea, I decided to reach out to my friends at Clement’s (our local independent grocer). I follow them on Twitter and I noticed they had posted a few things today, so I reached out to them there with one simple question:
@ClementsMarket Any chance you guys sell Scrapple (as in the pork product)?
— Dan Lederer (@danled68) November 8, 2016
This morning, in the midst of my post-election funk, they private messaged me back. They said they did not carry scrapple. They had sold it for a little while, but it wasn’t a big seller, so they stopped carrying it. However, their sister store, Lee’s in Westport, MA, did carry it. They even gave me specific instructions where to find it (in aisle 12 (the frozen aisle) near the breakfast sausages, bottom shelf).
And so shines a good deed in a weary world. Not only was it nice to hear from Clement’s with helpful information (and they had a kind word about my blog), but it reminded me about community and how we are all here to help each other. Of all the messages I heard today about being hopeful and working together and to come back fighting, it was Clement’s message of help that put the tiniest flicker of hope in my heart for this community of ours. We’re all in this together.
Westport is about 20 minutes away and I had never been to Lee’s. Taking a little field trip was the perfect diversion for today. When I got there, I walked through their wine store into the supermarket. I looked up to find aisle 12, and there it was, right where they said it would be – my scrapple quest fulfilled. It’s pretty nice in Lee’s. It’s a lot like Clement’s, but it has its own charms as well (like the wine store). I came in through the back entrance, so I was a bit disoriented on the store lay out, but it is definitely a great little community market. I also discovered that scrapple is pretty cheap ($3.49 for a 1 lb loaf) and Lee’s had an ample supply (in case you’re motivated to go get some yourself).
When I got home, I started to defrost the scrapple in some cold water so it would be ready for dinner. This worked pretty well and by the time it was dinnertime, it was ready to be sliced. I sliced it into 1/2 inch thick pieces (although I probably could have gone thicker for better results). I threw it in a frying pan with some butter and cooked it on both sides for about 8 minutes each. When it’s uncooked, it’s an ugly grey color not unlike some Alpo that’s on the verge of turning. When it’s cooked up, it turns into a nice, brown crisped-up slab which I served on plate with some over-medium eggs. I love breakfast-for-dinner nights.
Scrapple is essentially a sausage that’s just in a patty form – or more like a burger. It’s actually really tasty, although anything made from pork usually is. I can see why it’s a breakfast food because it goes well with eggs. The crunchy exterior really makes the whole bite, otherwise you are just eating mush. There’s no reason not to enjoy scrapple, just don’t read the ingredients.
The pork stock gave it a nice juicy flavor, but I think it was the pork hearts that really brought out the true scrapple taste. Yeah, I know. I probably ate pork lips and anus too. Whatever. It was still pretty tasty and all enjoyed as part of my Scrapple Day celebration.
What a strange day today was and ending it by feasting on scrapple certainly didn’t make it any less strange. We’ve got a long road ahead of us. There are a lot of people out there that are still scared and disenfranchised with the democratic process. I know we have to come together to make it all work, but we also have to make sure we stand strong against the things we know are wrong. It will take time, but like Clements showed me today, we are all in this together. Thank god we have mushed up pork scraps we can celebrate with.
Next Up: National Vanilla Cupcake Day