Our reporter ponders the local scarcity of a Pennsylvania breakfast-meat staple

Where I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, a hearty Sunday breakfast was not complete without a side of scrapple accompanying my eggs and home fries.

A creation of the Pennsylvania Dutch, scrapple is a breakfast meat enjoyed primarily in the Middle Atlantic region. Outside of the "Scrapple Belt," however, it's a relatively unheard-of pork product. It doesn't grace the menus of local diners, and is hard to find at grocery stores.

Scrapple — which is packaged as grey, Spam-like loaf — earned its nickname because it includes pig "scraps": skin, heart, liver ... "everything but the oink." Its flavor is enhanced with corn meal, onions and spices.

What I love most about scrapple is its contrasting textures — the crispy crust, the soft middle — and its modest spice notes. To my taste buds, there's no better breakfast meat. But when I moved to Pittsburgh, the only local grocery store I knew of that carried scrapple was Bloomfield's ShurSave. More recently, however, I've found scrapple at some Giant Eagle locations. Whole Foods even carries "all-natural" scrapple.

To prepare, cut the scrapple into quarter-inch to three-quarter-inch slices. Pan-fry in butter for a few minutes until the slab becomes a crispy golden brown. Serve with ketchup, horseradish or syrup.

Still, finding scrapple in the first place remains a challenge. I'd planned on writing this column after a breakfast of eggs and scrapple. But at the two Giant Eagles I checked, near endless packages of sausage and bacon, there was only an empty shelving slot designated for Pennsylvania's oft-neglected meat: scrapple.

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