Tag Archives: scrapple

Condiment wars

More details of the World's Largest Catsup Bottle
We had some delicious scrapple yesterday, courtesy of my mom.

The glory of the food was nearly overshadowed, though, by discussions of the toppings available to put on them.

First, catsup vs. ketchup. As it happens, Both terms are acceptable in general, but for unknown reasons some people find the “catsup” spelling not just wrong but offensive.

Let’s take a look at where the words come from. According to World Wide Words:

Ketchup was one of the earliest names given to this condiment, so spelled in Charles Lockyer’s book of 1711, An Account of the Trade in India: “Soy comes in Tubbs from Jappan, and the best Ketchup from Tonquin; yet good of both sorts are made and sold very cheap in China”. … The confusion about names started even before Charles Lockyer wrote about it, since there is an entry dated 1690 in the Dictionary of the Canting Crew which gives it as catchup, which is another Anglicisation of the original Eastern term. … There were lots of other spellings, too, of which catsup is the best known, a modification of catchup. You can blame Jonathan Swift for it if you like, since he used it first in 1730…”

Still not sure why people would be horrified that anyone would use the “catsup” spelling. Both are misspellings of an older Chinese word. Maybe we should return to that root?

Then, maple syrup vs. ketchup/catsup as a topping for scrapple: This division was a major one in my mother’s house when she was growing up. She preferred maple syrup — not an unusual choice, considering that many people enjoy syrup on sausage, and sausage is basically chunky scrapple. Her sister Bonnie thought this a bizarre choice, preferring catsup. (No word on which spelling she preferred.)

Live and let live, I say. Let us not fight over which condiments are the “right” ones. Rather, let’s sit down to table and enjoy both the food and each other’s company.

(Photo credit: More details of the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle, originally uploaded by anneh632.)


Oh, to be in Philadelphia this weekend! Specifically, to be in Reading Terminal on Saturday, for what will be a wondrous day of pork consumption: ScrappleFest!

From the Philadelphia City Paper:

Check out ScrappleFest this Sat., March 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free to the public, the event is a celebration of Philly’s favorite “what exactly is in it?”-inspiring breakfast treat. (Read this to get the idea, novices.)

In addition to live tunes, scrapple-themed souvenirs and samples from the likes of Dietz & Watson, Hatfield, the Pennsylvania General Store (chocolate scrapple!) and the Fair Food Farmstand (the illustrious Vrapple), there’ll also be a recipe contest pitting RTM merchants against each other to see who’s got the strongest scrapple game. Judging the competition will be chef/author Aliza Green, Rx chef Greg Salisbury, Where magazine’s Laura Burkhardt and yours truly.

I adore scrapple. Dusted with flour, cooked on a hot pan, served with fried eggs and rye toast: my dream breakfast. And dream lunch or dinner.

Actually, the only scrapple my family eats is Habbersett brand; it has a particular combination of spices and a certain texture that is perfect. It’s not easy to get Habbersett’s on this side of the state, but we bring it back when we visit family and friends out east.

The lack of good scrapple in western PA has led me to consider trying to make it myself. I won’t be able to duplicate the Habbersett flavor exactly — or maybe with enough experimentation I will. I have a recipe from Julia Child’s The Way to Cook, and it doesn’t look too complicated. And of course I can choose the meats and ingredients I want to include, so the result will at least be of good quality.

I will report back on my results.

(Thanks to Uncle Crappy for pointing out the ScrappleFest to me. Or maybe no thanks, as now I’ll be consumed with jealousy of Philadelphians for a few days.)

UPDATE: Scrapple for dinner! Hooray for mom and her stash of Habbersett’s in the freezer.

A delicious pan of scrapple

Top photo credit: “30 days of pork – day 23” by mandydale