During my recent sojourn in rural south-central Pennsylvania, I had the chance to reacquaint myself with scrapple. Like Spam, it is a meat invented in America based on pig. But unlike Spam, which has traveled the world and become a celebrity, scrapple remains an obscure regional dish. In addition to the Keystone State, you can sometimes find it in Delaware and Maryland, too.
Scrapple is made by boiling pig offal (the head, organs, trotters, etc.) in a huge pot until all the meat has fallen off the bones. The inedible parts (mainly bones and excess fat) are then removed and a combo of cornmeal and buckwheat are added, along with herbs like sage and savory. The mixture is boiled until it reaches the consistency of mush and the color of lead, which is then formed into a rectangular loaf for slicing.
Scrapple is corny and funky and greasy, and is usually eaten for breakfast as a kind of poor-person’s bacon or sausage. It was invented by a culture (Pennsylvania Dutch?) where nothing was wasted, and frugality was considered the greatest virtue. Scrapple could teach us a lesson, if only we could bring ourselves to eat it.