Scrapple - Philadelphia Does Not A Scrapple Make?

Real Estate Agent with Harper Real Estate
I grew up in Chester County and so I had the regular experience of eating scrapple with eggs for breakfast and sometimes for lunch (in a sandwich) and I vaguely remember even a few times for dinner.

ScrappleIt was usually served thinly sliced, about a quarter inch or slightly more in thickness and grilled to a thin dark golden brown crust on the surface, but still a little soft on the inside.  I would eat it usually plain or with ketchup.  

During that time of my life, I was not aware of, nor concerned about, what scrapple was made of -- just that it tasted good, especially with eggs "over easy" or as a sandwich (thinner, more crunchy, not very soft on inside).

Later in life I started asking more thoughtful, philosophical questions, such as why do we have scrapple, where did it come from and more importantly, "what's it made of"?

Most people I've run across, who know what it is and have eaten it, either love it or hate it, with very few in between or indifferent.

I've since come to learn that scrapple has been part of our Pennsylvania / Delaware Valley heritage for over 200 years. Even Benjamin Franklin wrote about it. And George Washington liked it, having been introduced to it by his Pennsylvania Dutch cook.  It was brought over by German settlers who established communities in areas that are now part of Chester County and it's use spread throughout the area. 

Today it is often called Philadelphia scrapple, although it did not originate from within the City of Philadelphia nor is scrapple produced inside the city but in areas around the city.  It is usually on the menu of most local diners and breakfast-serving restaurants in the Southeastern Pennsylvania / Delaware Valley area and especially in what we now call the Pennsylvania Dutch area because of it's strong German cultural heritage.  (Remember: "Dutch" in this case has nothing directly to do with the Dutch or Holland, it's a corruption of "Deutsch", which is the German language word for "German".  They don't call their country the same as we call it in English, "Germany", they call it "Deutschland", which we again corrupted to "Dutchland". That being said, some of the Low Germain areas from where they immigrated from to Pennsylvania are near or overlap the Neatherlands and included Dutch speaking groups.)

There is not absolute agreement of how scrapple as we know it was started in this area, but most agree it was German and Dutch settlers in and around the Chester County area that created our American version of scrapple in order to not waste the usable remnant "scraps" that were left over from preparing pork products, such as liverwurst.  They added cornmeal, spices and cooked it into a jell-like consistency.  The jelled scrapple, which stored very well in tin cans prior to refrigeration, was then thinly sliced and fried when ready to be eaten.  It was very popular.

Scrapple is called panhas in German.  The Pennsylvania Dutch call it pawn haas or pon haus. These include the Amish (pronounced aahh'-mish) and Mennonites, among others.

Today scapple is commonly eaten plain, with ketchup, or as is more common in Pennsylvania Dutch county, it is eaten with syrup (or sometimes apple butter).

Wikipedia: Scrapple
NYTimes Article: Sampling Scrapple At The Source
Habbersett Scrapple Corporation: History

Additional Links
Stoltzfus Meats

Copyright 2008 by Lawrence Yerkes. All Rights Reserved.


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Someone Who Knows

Pon haus and Scrapple are not the same thing. Pon haus is made from pork broth and corn meal and seasonings. The meat boiled to create the broth is retained to create a dish known as puddin, which is similar to head cheese. Scrapple is a sort of puddin and pon haus fusion.

Pon haus is indeed sliced thin, fried and served with maple syrup and tastes like nothing so much as a peppery cornmeal pancake.

Sep 18, 2008 08:29 AM #1
rich byers

scrapple is differant fron paunhos   paunhoss is made from the broth of biled pork bones that are not trimmed closely  and maybe a hog head that has been cleanned , only thig remaining is the meat and bone material, all organs are removed .  Any way dad boiled all bones  that were not in the eatable cuts of meat along with a pork liver . Boile in big pot till all the meat fell off bones .We removed all large meat parts and pork liver from pot leaving just broth and meat flakes that were small.  We ground the meat pieces with a porson of pork liver, amt of por liver depended on how livery you like it  , anyway the mix of liver and pork meat was called liver pudding, cooled  in bread pans and used as toping on pancake s etc. Now the broth was cooled fat skimmed , and some watewr added boiled corn meal salt and pepper and may be a little flour to hold it together add corn meal to smake stiif enoughg to stand a spoon in it  pour into cake pans and cool  slised thinnly and browned for breakfast with syrup topping   thats the old way as I do it  richyb  soprry about the speeling . ha ha

Sep 12, 2009 03:18 AM #2
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Larry Yerkes

Associate Broker, Southeastern PA Real Estate Services
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