Scrapple – the Pennsylvania treat (1922)

Hog’s head, spices and cereals well-combined make “Scrapple” — a highly-seasoned mush

From the Pennsylvania Dutch comes this product

Scrapple is a Pennsylvania Dutch dish, made from hog’s head, spices, and cereals, cooked into a sort of highly seasoned mush, which can be sliced and fried in its own fat if enough pork has been used. It is a very appetizing winter dish if the maker has not been overgenerous with the cornmeal and stingy with the pork and seasonings.

Its composition

The two samples examined are characteristic of the farmer’s homemade product as found on the market stands and the commercial products, which must stand up under more trying handling conditions.

The Farmer Reed scrapple had nearly 19 percent of fat, 11 percent of protein, and 7 percent of starch, with 59 percent of water. It was delicious and tasted much like a sausage, though the cereals made it less rich. Wheat flour and cornmeal were both present, and the wheat gives it a better flavor than when all cornmeal is used. This product, because of the fat present, gives 243 calories (heat units) a pound.

The best known commercial scrapple is the Vogt brand examined, which has no more starch present than the farmer’s product. Cornmeal, however, seems to be used exclusively, and less pork, the scrapple containing 4 percent less fat and 3 percent less protein than the farmer’s mixture, also less seasoning and 9 percent more water.

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Seasoned somewhat, dipped in flour and fried in fat, it is, however, a representative product and more available than the homemade, richer product. Also it is cheaper, which must always be considered in relation to quality and richness.

In this connection, a recipe for making real Philadelphia scrapple may not come amiss. Here it is, right from a Pennsylvania Dutch stronghold:

Philadelphia scrapple recipe (Farmer’s style)

Thoroughly scrape and clean a small hog’s head. Cut in half and take out the eyes and brains. Wash the halves of the head and wipe dry and put into a large kettle.

Into the same kettle, one may put a small fresh shoulder of pork, cut up in small pieces, and an equal amount of boiling beef if desired. Cover the whole with cold water and cook gently for three or four hours untill the meat falls from the bones. Remove all the bones with a perforated ladle. Season highly with salt, ground black pepper and ground sage. Carefully skim off all the grease as it rises to the surface.

Make a mixture of two parts of cornmeal and one part wheat flour and sprinkle the cereal mixture into the cooking meat while constantly stirring. Continue to add the cereals until it is of the consistency of mush. Then cook for one hour more, very slowly, being careful that it does not scorch. Finally, pour into pans and put in a cool place to allow it to harden.

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In most recipes corn meal only is directed. In the real Pennsylvania Dutch “Ponhoss,” buckwheat flour is used in whole or in part.

To cook scrapple is one of those three minute stove operations. All one has to do is to slice the scrapple about one-quarter inch thick. Dip the slices into flour and sauté them in hot fat, the latter about one-quarter inch deep in the frying pan. Or it may be fried in deep fat, though this is unnecessarily elaborate. The “farmer’s” scrapple is very rich in fat and fries in its own grease. No addition is necessary. Fry to a light brown and serve garnished with parsley or celery tops.

What goes with scrapple

If breakfast is the meal that must be planned, serve first baked apples which have been cooked with a generous supply of butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Then with the scrapple and hot steaming coffee have cornmeal griddle cakes. It will be a substantial breakfast and one that well fits the out-of-doors man for a strenuous morning.

If lunch is the meal at which it is to be served, try hot baking powder biscuits, with a salad of lettuce hearts or endive and French dressing. Or, if the vitamins interest you, substitute coleslaw, well-dressed, for the lettuce. Finish with apple pie a la mode and coffee, and again, you will have a hearty and satisfactory meal.

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Modern-day scrapple photo by Accidental Hedonist

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