It feels like just yesterday we were nodding in quiet agreement as David Chang made the case for bologna as the next ubiquitous, trendy meat in GQ, but now, via Esquire, some dissent: Josh Ozersky waxes on about the underrated appeal of scrapple, “essentially a loaf formed out of pork liver, pork offal, pork broth, and cornmeal.” Well, um, let’s hear him out!
The post gets into the meat’s all-American working class roots (“scrapple was brought to us by the Scots-Irish settlers of Appalachia and the German settlers of Pennsylvania”), but actually makes a more compelling point as far as scrapple’s appeal to both aggressive, show-off-y carnivores, and people who just like to not put to waste the animals they’re killing and consuming:
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Everybody loves bacon; that doesn’t give you lardcore status, not by a long shot. Neither does gobbling down confited pork belly or spare ribs or pulled pork or center cut pork chops. Everybody loves those things. It’s how you feel about the offal, the nasty bits, the lard and liver, where you separate the men from the boys. Scrapple is the ultimate statement of pork offal, all of the least-loved body parts mixed together in one delicious block. In that sense, it’s the summit or porcine sustainability.
By those terms, it’s almost surprising we’re not already seeing scrapple on tasting menus all over the borough (also because the name is obviously very fun to say), but as of now, it’s actually stayed pretty regional, and Ozersky notes that “I can barely ever find it here in New York.” Seems likely that’ll change soon enough, but then, in the interim, we’ll always have Spam.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.