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Scrapple, long a Maryland favorite, has graced many a Baltimore kitchen table

Detractors feel that scrapple, the fried meat pudding augmented with corn meal, is the ultimate 1930s Depression food.

A 1934 ad in The Sun may confirm this: “Let's eat. Fried scrapple and hominy. It's only thirteen cents.”

This dish was then being offered by Baltimore’s Oriole cafeterias, a small chain that fed budget-conscious eaters in downtown Baltimore and on North Avenue.

Even if you convert 13 cents into today’s money, it would still be something like $2.06.

Scrapple is the local favorite for breakfast tables in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. Farmers who kept hogs butchered them in the fall — in October and November — and used every part of the pig for something. After the hams and the pork chops and bacon, the parts that were left — the scraps — would be boiled down and mixed with corn meal and spices. This mixture would be set out in loaf pans.

Baltimore meat packers made their own scrapple and sold it in refrigerated cases at the city’s municipal markets.

The dish can accompany eggs, buckwheat cakes or stand alone, grilled to a crispy brown, and is often served with a generous dollop of ketchup.

H. L. Mencken wrote in The Sun, Nov. 15, 1906: “The scrapple season dawns upon us with its ravishing perfumes. For the brief month following the falling of the leaves it is the king-victual and master-aliment of the great plain people.” 

Scrapple was once made at the old Henry Heil meatpacking plant on Falls Road in Hampden. But times change and that pork producer is now being converted into a local brewery.

jkelly@baltsun.com

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