Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It's National Scrapple Day!

oil on paper, 13" x 22".
brush, pen and ink, 7" x 5"

"Leo 'Pops' Spirodopolous, proprietor and short order cook of the Possum Poke Diner, prides himself on shaping his scrapple into reconstituted animal shapes, which are rendered nearly unrecognizable once cooked. This, however, no one ever mentions to him."

For those of you too far west to have enjoyed this mid-Atlantic treat, scrapple is a yummy gray loaf of finely ground, boiled pork scraps mixed with cornmeal, salt, and pepper. It is best served sliced and fried, and tastes like, well, scrapple. Not sausage, not bacon, not even chicken, but its own unique oeuvre of olfactory stimulation, an achievement not often attained by offal-based processed breakfast side orders. While not quite a delicacy, this oft-maligned regional artery stopper is lauded fervently by its many flanneled defenders, and its mention in even passing conversation is met consistently with fanatical praise or unbridled nose-crinkling disgust.

Even among its supporters, the dish is frequently described as an acquired taste. The chilly Saturday morning my dad first tried to acquaint his young children with it, none of us could be sure what to make of it, for its texture and flavor defied even our most imaginative expectations. It should be noted, too, that in spite of its seeming malleability, it does not take well to being modeled into cool shapes before frying, and believe me, we tried.