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In Praise of Scrapple

In honor of National Poetry Month, I thought I would share this poem by Philadelphia poet and Villanova alumnus Thomas Augustine Daly (1871-1948). The poem appears in McAroni Ballads and Other Verses (1919), newly digitized in our Digital Library along with unique items from Distinctive Collections. A full digital exhibit exploring T. A. Daly will launch later this week. In the meantime, here follows a taste of that “frosty morning dish that Philadelphians sing, and outlanders jest about” (Daly, Herself and the Houseful, p. 107):

In Praise of Scrapple

Out upon your gibes ironic!
You who’ve never known the tonic
Toothsomeness of savory scrapple
Dare to judge it? Well, I never!
When no morsel of it ever
Greased your graceless Adam’s apple.

When the northwest wind is blowing,
Sharp enough for frost or snowing,
And the days of muggy weather
Have departed altogether,
All our husbandmen are getting
Butcher knives laid out for whetting,
And some morning with the dawn
Comes the porcine slaughter on.
Let’s not morbidly be dealing
With the scuffling and the squealing,
But, the gruesome parts deleting,
Get us to the joys of eating.
Well, then, when hog-killing’s through
This is what the housewives do:

Clean a pig’s head, nicely, neatly,
Boil till meat leaves bones completely.
When it’s cold remove all greases,
Chop meat into little pieces;
Put the liquor and the meat
Back again upon the heat
Slowly stirring cornmeal in
Till it is no longer thin.
Pepper, salt, and sage they bring
For its proper seasoning.
When the mess is thick and hot
It is lifted from the pot,
Poured then into pans to mold
And so left until it’s cold.
So ends Chapter I.
The sequel
Is a breakfast without equal!

Come! it is a nippy morning,
Frost lace, the panes adorning,
Takes the sun from many angles
And the windows glow with spangles.
From the kitchen range are rising
Odors richly appetizing;

Paradise is in the skillet,
For the scrapple slices fill it,
And each flour-encrusted piece
Smiling in its fragrant grease
Takes a coat of golden tan
From the ardor of the pan.
Crisp and brown the outer crust, oh!
Food to rouse the gourmand’s gusto
From your platter gives you greeting;
Truly this is royal eating!

Out upon your gibes ironic!
You who’ve never known the tonic
Toothsomeness of savory scrapple
Dare to judge it? Well, I never!
When no morsel of it ever
Greased your graceless Adam’s apple.

– T. A. Daly.

 

Image from Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly Newspaper via The Encyclopedia of Philadelphia


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Last Modified: April 27, 2021