Tuesday, September 27, 2005

UPPER NW: A Pork-Barrel Project

I ate scrapple for the first time this morning after nearly a decade of not touching the stuff. Yes indeed, I did. And thus far, my stomach hasn't been tied up in knots or rejected the ground-up pork snouts, piggy hearts and other goodies that find their way into the Mid-Atlantic's regional breakfast meat from another age. I went up to my great aunt's house for breakfast around 9 a.m. where upon my arrival, she had a choice cut of the processed pork breakfast product frying up on her George Foreman grill.

Auntie L had quite the morning feast ready for me (to prepare). We watched Tyra Banks give advice on how to get the "groove" back into her guest's tepid sex lives on the episode "My Man Won’t Commit." We started the day out right with orange juice, bacon, eggs, two different kinds of bread, plus a maple-walnet glazed cinnamon bun. Since I was stationed behind the stovetop, I controlled what I ate, but she was insistant that I have some scrapple, which sort of perplexes me because she told me that she hasn't purchased scrapple in years. But something made her get a log of scapple at her the Westbard Giant. So I cut up a slender slice and took a chance, trying not to look too closely at the package. But I couldn't resist looking at what I was eating, so I took a quick glance at what odd left-over parts of the pig were lurking inside the slender slice.

(I looked to see if there was any sodium erythorbate in it, there wasn't. I had thought that sodium erythorbate was a ground-up earthworm product used in cheap hot dogs, but as The Straight Dope tells me, it's "an antioxidant similar to Vitamin C, is made from sugar" that's added to hot dogs. So eat up, I guess.)

I'm not sure why all my awkward instances of strange pork-product consumption seems to be when my great aunt is around. It'll be one of life's greatest mysteries. Maybe I should prepare a pork loin for dinner sometime in the future and it'll unveil some sort of Rosetta Stone which under careful study will unlock the secrets of Crete's yet-to-be cracked Linear A script.

First, Auntie L was the first to introduce me to scrapple out at the Delaware shore in the early 1990s. I thought it tasted pretty good, but if I remember correctly, I disregarded reports from wiser relatives of scrapple's contents. It couldn't be worse than a the "meat" used in a Sausage McMuffin, I thought.

Second, there was last year's local Swiss society Berner dinner (I was my great aunt's date and driver.). There, I not only encountered a former lawyer for Michael Jackson but also a giant pig's foot in the buffet line, hoisted onto my plate by the night's gracious hostess.

From the archives of The Washington Oculus:
If you haven't had pig's foot, start with the muscles that form the toes. The meat there is a little tougher and edible. The further you move up the fleshy stump, the more gelatinous it is. (You may remember a scene in "The Great Outdoors" when John Candy finishes the steak eating challenge and is at the end forced to eat the carved off grizzle ... yeah, it's sort of like that.) I didn't eat much, asking the wine server to refill my glass to make it go down a little easier.
If I'd relive that dining experience in full (the rest of the pig-centric Berner platter, prepared by Chef Pascal of the French ambassador's residence, was quite good), I'd eat scrapple for breakfast everyday.

-- Image of scrapple, eggs and maple syrup at top from this random blog.
-- Poster from "Babe" from Univeral Pictures


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