Linda Clark-Borre

The Way We Ate: Sing Scrapple

07/02/2012 22:23

My husband and I watched an old Alfred Hitchcock program from 1955 tonight that featured the tasty dish, Scrapple. Well, it actually only showed up as a side dish on a character’s plate, but I couldn’t get my mind off it. As soon as I heard the homemaker say, “It’s too hot to cook, we’re just having scrapple,” I went back in my mind, way back, to the days Grandma Baillie used to feed it to her beloved grandchildren.

I knew it was some kind of fried pork loaf, but couldn’t remember exactly what it was. Or, more likely, I never knew what it was because Grandma never said....what kid would willingly eat it if they knew? Grandma had been a Schulte, the child of German settlers in hill country out east a ways, so all I remembered was that it had its roots as a cheap and fairly readily available protein for poor folks.

So after the program (now) I decided to look it up. What had Gran been feeding me those lazy weekend mornings?  The Urban Dictionary defines it as

Everything but the oink!
Scrapple Ingredient list:
Snouts, Tails, Hooves, Hearts, Lips, Ears, Assholes, Eyeballs, Livers, Spleens, Tongues, and its primary ingredient CORN MEAL.

The tamer version: 

Scrapple is typically made of hog offal, such as the head, eyes, heart, liver, bladder, and other scraps, which are boiled with any bones attached (often the entire head), to make a broth. Once cooked, bones and fat are discarded, the meat is reserved, and (dry) cornmeal is boiled in the broth to make a mush. The meat, finely minced, is returned, and seasonings, typically sage, thyme, savory, and others, are added. The mush is cast into loaves, and allowed to cool thoroughly until gelled. The proportions and seasoning are very much a matter of the region and the cook's taste.

No wonder I loved it so. Sometimes Gran would follow up this breakfast with a tasty lunchtime sandwich of headcheese and mustard. That's another thing I didn't ask much about. But, one memory at a time here... 

Digging around I found a tamer modern version of Scrapple I might try for old time’s sake:


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork sausage
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper


  1. Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain and rinse in colander under cold water, breaking sausage into pea sized pieces.
  2. Return to skillet along with the condensed milk, and heat over medium until just bubbling. Immediately stir in the cornmeal and pepper and reduce heat to simmer. Continue cooking, 5 minutes total; mush will be stiff.
  3. Pack into 8x4 loaf pan, cover and chill overnight. To serve, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices and sauté until golden in nonstick skillet.

Anyone else remember eating this stuff, or have we devolved into a nation of mostly wiener eaters?

Ode to Scrapple

by Dave Bonta

Sing scrapple: buckwheat-
& cornmeal mush-stuffed
relative of head cheese,
the hog’s gray matter.
Plus every part
that couldn’t be cured
into ham or crammed
into sausage casings —
some good foot meat, perhaps,
a corkscrew piece of tail —
up to & including
the oleaginous grunt.
Always the butt of jokes
for the ignorant mass
of weiner-eaters who prefer
their pig scraps pink
& prefitted for the throat.
This is a square meal
the color of earth.
It’s what’s for supper
when you haven’t eaten
since breakfast, & want
something you can
slap in the hot
fat of a griddle & fry
until it grows a thick
brown skin. Then
serve with Grade-A
maple syrup, go hog-
wild, wallow in the gray
& gritty mush.