Where Does the Word Scrapple Come From?

Posted by Adam Gerard

February 12, 2012 at 8:00 AM

The Pennsylvania Dutch Origins of the Word Scrapple

So where does the word scrapple come from?

"Scrapple? It’s made from the scraps of the pig left over after they make all the other meat.  Scraps…scrapple. Get it?"

Seems an easy enough explanation, right? And completely wrong, according to William Woys Weaver in his book, Country Scrapple.

Williams Woys Weaver instead says that the word actually stems from scrapple’s German parent, Panhas. Or more specifically, "a slice of Panhas."

Scrapple as a food has its origins with the Pennsylvania Dutch, who in Germany called it Panhas.

"Hey, Bram, cut me a slice of panhas, man!" might not have been an uncommon phrase spoken in Pennsylvania back in the day. Only instead of "a slice," he would have said kröppel. So "a slice of panhas" would have been spoken as panhaskröppel.

But say the word panhaskröppel around a bunch of English-speaking Philadelphians and it just sounds like gibberish to them.

English guy: Wait, did you say scrapple?
German guy: Nein
English guy: Frank, he says this delicious stuff is called scrapple.
German guy: ::shake my head::

And the word scrapple was born.

But that explanation is kind of long and boring, and takes away from a lot of the shock and awe of introducing people to this delicious breakfast meat. So how about we keep the truth between you and me and just keep telling people it's all about the scraps? Cool? Cool.

Photo by giveawayboy via Flickr and Creative Commons.

Topics: what is scrapple, scrapple origins, scrapple definition

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What is Scrapple?

You take the pig and make bacon, ham, pork and so on. What do you do with all the left over pig scraps? You boil 'em, chop 'em up and turn them all into a mush. That mush is combined with some pork stock and grains and then allowed to thicken into a loaf. You typically slice off about a 1/4" piece of the loaf and cook it in a pan so it's crispy on both sides. And that, my friends, is scrapple. Watch this 5-minute video presentation for a bit more scrapple detail.

This blog is a love note to scrapple.

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