Friday, 25 January 2013

FOOD FIGHT: Haggis v Scrapple

It's been a while since I last did a Food Fight, so here's a very special edition for you: A Burns' Night special.

Today is Burns' Night, an evening to celebrate and remember the Scottish bard Robert (Rabbie) Burns. For Scots this is (yet another) excuse for good heavy food, great company, and even better drinks.

At the very least you'll know of Burns for Auld Lang Syne, the charming ditty sung at New Year. He also penned the delightful Address to a Haggis, which is recited on Burns' night as the haggis is ceremonially cut open and served to expectant diners…

…but not in the USA, on account of haggis not being available. According to the BBC the USA banned it in the 1970s because it contains a rather dubious ingredient: Sheep lung. This is a real shame, because despite its rather unglamorous constituent parts (essentially left-over offal, bits of sheep with oats and spices) it's a true delicacy.

A traditional Burns' supper of haggis, neeps (mashed turnips) and tatties (mashed potatoes) is a beautifully sweet, spicy and comforting winter dish…honestly!

All is not quite lost though, because Pennsylvania has its own answer to dubious spiced meat products: Scrapple. This too is a traditional dish comprising leftover meat (hog offal - that is, pork), grains (cornmeal) and spices. It's a Pennsylvania/Amish dish which is formed into loaf shapes and fried in slices.

I think Scots would whole-heartedly embrace scrapple as it has potential to be a great addition to any heart-stopping full fried breakfast. It's similar to lorne (square) sausage, although with a more haggis-like texture. Even the name is suitably dubious, literally describing the left-over meat used up in the product (actually it's allegedly from the PA dutch word panhaskröppel).

So, here goes…


Invented: Some time in the 15th Century.
How to Make: You probably don't want to know.
Rock n Roll factor: Has an ancient poem, an annual ceremony, and is banned in the USA.


Invented: Some time in the 18th Century.
How to Make: You probably don't want to know.
Rock n Roll factor: Has a song, can be put in Apple pie to make Apple Scrapple Pie, diner favorite in the Mid-East.

Who is the FOOD FIGHT winner?

Sorry scrapple, today of all days it has to be haggis. Anything that strikes fear into the US Government has surely got an edge. But as I'm no longer living in Scotland, I'll have to settle for my local equivalent instead. Do you think scrapple, neeps and tatties could become a new Pennsylvanian favorite?

PS - I didn't take the photo of the haggis myself, but got permission from a real red-headed Scot who runs a tour company. If you're ever in Scotland be sure to get in touch with him - tell him I sent you and he'll give you special treatment.


  1. Not sure I like the look of scrapple... too shiny! Do you get turnips in the states?

    I have a suggestion for your next foodie post: superbowl snacks! Specifically this:

    1. Nooo idea if I could get turnips. Been too preoccupied with pumpkin, ho ho.

      Don't worry, I will definitely do a superbowl special - we just ordered our wings from the local store. I'll see if I can incorporate bacon bowls too (I don't think Mark will object).

  2. HI!!!! Thanks for stopping by B is for Becky! So nice to see fellow Pennsylvanian based bloggers! Holla!

    Not a fan of Scrapple myself but I feel like everyone around me loves it! There is an urban legend that if you microwave a piece of scrapple, once it's hot it will melt down to a puddle of fat with hair in it! Hahaha!