They say most great artists aren’t really appreciated until after they’re dead. I say most great meals aren’t appreciated until after you go to the bathroom.
That’s where scrapple comes in (or out). It enters and leaves your body as scrapple, more or less. No fuss, no questions asked. Kale can move on over, because there’s a new miracle food in town.
In a way, scrapple is the only thing that keeps bringing me back to my home state of Pennsylvania. Scrapple is my heritage, much like the South’s Confederate Flag, except without any of the racism or pride for a defunct nation. Just tastiness from corner to greasy corner.
What exactly is in scrapple, you ask? According to most sources, its a gourmet blend of cornmeal, flour, and, you guessed it, meat scraps! As for what kind of meat, nobody can be sure. Probably whatever isn’t good enough to use in hot dogs. The exact recipe is likely an ancient Amish secret, talked about only during the most sacred of barn raisings. I’ve tried to ask them about it, but they never respond to any of my emails.
A few weeks ago, I tried to share the local delicacy with my three college roommates: a Minnesotan WASP, a Chinese international, and a Long Island Jew. To my dismay, not one of them recognized the beauty of the Mid-Atlantic meat brick. They provided weak excuses. It was too burnt. It had a weird consistency. It wasn’t “kosher.”
But I’ll be damned if that scrapple didn’t make them all feel as American as any man could on this crazy little marble we call Planet Earth. If there was ever any doubt, the man at the table next to us was wearing a shirt covered in bald eagles and snippets from the Constitution. His was the type of patriotism that could make Joe McCarthy look like Chairman Mao.
And when you think about it, scrapple is really the Constitution of breakfast meats. It’s rugged, rectangular, and nobody can agree on what’s in it. But like all good things in life, scrapple brings up more questions than answers. To quote the great John Mellencamp (neé Cougar), “Ain’t that America, Home of the Free?” I’d say so. So next time you’re out for breakfast, have yourself a side of scrapple, amended with a generous slather of Heinz ketchup. Because anything else is just Canadian bacon.