National Scrapple Day on November 9 is to celebrate the comfort food that has been swirling around our bellies for hundreds of years. It’s a dish born from humble beginnings as the first pork food invented in America and has become a traditional staple of the Mid-Atlantic states. Scrapple combines pork scraps with buckwheat flour, cornmeal, and spices in what is a great example of taking food that would otherwise have gone to waste and turning it into something tasty and delicious. It’s a breakfast side dish that goes great with ketchup. If you’ve never tried it before then today is the day.
History of National Scrapple Day
Scrapple, also known by the Pennsylvania Dutch name, pon haus (which translates literally to “pan hare” or rabbit), is said to have been invented by German colonists who settled near Philadelphia and Chester County, Pennsylvania. As a result, you’ll find scrapple as a regional favorite around the Mid-Atlantic area.
When the recipe came to America, the buckwheat was often replaced or supported by cornmeal. For the colonizers, using local ingredients like corn was no problem as long as the meal was simple and modest and everything was used.
Created so that hungry, hard-working, prudent rural immigrants could make use of all manner of foodstuffs, scrapple originally consisted of a mixture of pork scraps, offal, and other trimmings, boiled with bones attached to make a broth, then simmered with cornmeal, wheat flour or sometimes buckwheat flour, onions, and spices like sage and thyme. The eventual loaf is then sliced and pan-fried as if it was a patty.
It was a dish born from a perspective of now wanting to see anything go to waste. While today’s scrapple – available primarily in Mid-Atlantic area grocery stores – adheres to different standards using FDA-approved animal anatomy, it is still a tasty tradition popularly served alongside sunny-side-up eggs and toast or in sandwiches. With the current trend in lighter, healthier eating, scrapple is also known to be made with turkey instead of the original pork, or with beef for a different flavor entirely. Scrapple is also appearing more and more on the menus of heritage-based restaurants in Brooklyn, NY, and beyond the Mid-Atlantic area.