A Native Pennsylvanian Pines for Scrapple in 1872 - Some Things Never Change
A few years ago, the NY Times pulled together a chain of editorial letters about scrapple from 1872. Like most discussions on scrapple, it starts off with a passionate supporter going on and on about how awesome this little-known breakfast meat is. And also similar to today, the detractors voice their disgust, unable to get over how and what scrapple is made of and insist it's terrible. Same story, different century.
But what I find most fascinating is how much the initial scrapple lover sounds exactly like scrapple lovers of present day.
Writes EPICURE, the scrapple-loving letterer in 1872:
In Pennsylvania there is an article in general use called "scrapple" which is one of the best substitutes for meat that I know of.
Well, I might take issue with him calling scrapple a "substitute" for meat, but I think we can understand the sentiment.
On coming to live in New-York I missed it very much, and, as a consequence, it cost us a large amount of mutton-chops, beef-steak, &c., for breakfast, for which "scrapple" is excellent.
So many of us have felt EPICURE's pain: Growing up with the luxury of readily available scrapple, then moving away to learn the horror of never finding it again! Try as you might (and try he did), it doesn't take long to discover there is just no substitute for scrapple.
EPICURE's wife took matters into her own hands, developing a recipe that he cheerily offers hiw wife will send in if requested.
Of course, the recipe is demanded and not long after, EPICURE write's in with his wife's scrapple recipe but adds this important caveat:
I beg to add, that whoever tries the recipe will not get discouraged if they should not succeed on the first attempt, as a great deal depends on having the right proportions of the ingredients, and in the article being fried very brown and crisp.
Even in 1872, they knew the only way to eat scrapple is crispy on the outside.
If you're interested in her special scrapple recipe, it's available here after EPICURE'S letter. But be warned, it starts with quite the first ingredient: "Get a young pig's head..."
Scrapple: It's better if you just don't ask questions, since before 1872.
Photo Pig taken by Rob Watling used via Flickr and Creative Commons.