Wednesday, December 10, 2008


A third, and for the time-being final, foray into Receipts for the Table from the New York Times of 1876 (December 3) gives the following variations on a theme of pig bits for breakfast. I was always under the impression that this dish was spelled ‘scrapple’, but I await the advice of those of you who hail from that part of the world where it is eaten with relish.
Thinking ahead a couple of weeks - would it be sacrilege to make this with the leftover Christmas ham, I wonder?
Scrappel, I.
Boil a hog’s head one day, and let it stand five or six hours, or all night. Slip out the bones and chop fine; then return the meat to the liquor. Skim when first cold; warm and season freely with pepper, sage, salt and sweet herbs. Two cupfuls of buck-wheat meal and one cupful corn-meal. Put into molds and when cold cut into slices and fry for breakfast.
Scrappel, II.
Take pigs’ ears, tail and head, or any trimmings of pork; cover with water, and boil slowly until all the bones drop out; skim from the liquor, which set to get cold; then skimm off all the fat; mince the meat very fine; season it high with salt, black pepper, powdered sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice, and summer savory; put the liquor on the fire, and when boiling, add the minced meat; stir well; then stir in new white Indian meal until it is a stiff as mush; put out in dishes, and cut in slices, and fry brown.
The word apparently derives from ‘scrap’, and the dish derives from the necessity to avoid wasting even the meanest fragments of animal protein. The scraps of meat are bulked out with any available starch (in this case cornmeal and/or buckwheat meal) in the same time-honoured tradition that produced haggis (in which case the meat is mutton and the starch is oatmeal). Strangely, it seems to be a relatively new word/concept, and appeared only in the early 1850’s.
Quotation for the Day …
A peasant becomes fond of his pig and is glad to salt away its pork. What is significant, and is so difficult for the urban stranger to understand, is that the two statements are connected by an and not by a but.”
John Berger.

1 comment:

AElfwynn said...

It is spelled scrapple these days, yes.

It's something I always make sure to have when I go back to visit my folks, too.