Finally, scrapple you can get excited about!
It’s about time somebody updated this traditional comfort food. For those of you raised on scrapple (mostly east coast residents with Pennsylvania Dutch origins) there’s a distinct flavor that’s largely determined by the spices, and of course, organ meat (heart, liver, tongue, skin). These traditional versions of scrapple also have a high fat content.
As a result people either LOVE scrapple or they HATE it. (If you’re in the latter camp, as a child you were probably encouraged to finish your breakfast in no uncertain terms!)
Steven DeLaVergne and his nephew, Michael Susak, were brought up differently.
Each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas Steve’s Father (affectionately referred to as WAD, William Albert DeLaVergne) made a large batch of scrapple. He used pork hocks instead of offal, and distributed loaves as gifts to extended members of the family. The extra scrapple would be stored in the freezer and at various times throughout the year, always for a special occasion, WAD would pull out a thawed loaf or two of scrapple and gather his family for a special late-morning meal that he would personally prepare.
These were HAPPY times for everyone.
Steve continued the family tradition and his only-child, Claire, is fully on-board declaring scrapple her favorite food on the planet.
Nephew Mike says:
Scrapple is comfort food, one of those foods that can transport me to my childhood . . .
The excitement created when word got out that Grandpa was making a batch of scrapple, and knowing that my bottomless-pit Uncles would be coming over for breakfast when we visited Seattle from eastern Oregon . . . the whole family getting together for breakfast.
Grandpa would do it all, perfectly.
He would thaw the scrapple just enough until he could cut it easily, but it was still a little frozen. He would cut the loaves on a slicer to be sure each slice was the right thickness to get the perfect crispy outside with a soft and meaty inside. Over the years he had found the best electric flattop griddle to fry a whole loaf at a time (provided the loaves were sliced to the correct thickness). He then used real butter (or margarine after his heart surgery) to fry each piece. The griddle was set at a specific temperature, and he used two spatulas to skillfully turn each piece so as not to disrupt the structural integrity . . .
When each piece was done it was put on a plate and placed in a warm oven until they were all cooked and ready to serve.
Me, my Uncles and my Mom were the vultures, hanging out near Grandpa and ready to catch any mistakes or “scraps.” Of course, if the oven was left open too long, or grandpa’s back was turned too long, whole pieces of warm scrapple were known to disappear from the oven before making it to the breakfast table!
When all the food was prepared we would jockey for position to fill our plates with scrapple, toast, eggs, served with orange juice and milk.
My Grandfather was many things to many people: an engineer, a magician, a cribbage wizard, a grandfather, a dad, a friend . . . but the one thing he was to everyone was Scrapple. Scrapple was a part of Grandpa WAD. It was a source of great pride for him that he could share this bit of heritage with his family and his friends.
And now it is my heritage. I understand Grandpa’s sense of pride and am thrilled that my Uncle Steve and I can share our family’s scrapple with the world!
WAD’s recipe for scrapple was a clean one, without organ meat or pork scraps and as he became more health conscious, he refined his recipe further and decreased the fat content. The secret ingredient, however, the one that makes West Coast Scrapple irresistible is the love of family and tradition that goes into every loaf.
It’s an inherited quality that’s been reinforced over the years. It’s intangible and it cannot be faked. WAD’s scrapple was filled with love, every single piece of it.
WAD’s healthier version of scrapple, the low fat variety, has been circulating through the DeLaVergne family since the 1970s. It is the one Steve and Mike have put together for West Coast Scrapple and . . .
it’s the scrapple they hope you’ll enjoy—half as much as they have over the years:-)