Wednesday, May 20, 2009

An Ode To Scrapple

I am going on vacation soon and wanted to leave on a positive note. It is true that there is much in the world that needs fixing, changing, adjusting or pitching out. But there is at least one perfect thing in this universe; Habbersett’s Scrapple.

If you didn’t grow up in Pennsylvania or Delaware, you may not know that scrapple is the best possible accompaniment to fried eggs on God’s Green Earth. It beats bacon hands down and makes breakfast sausage taste bland in comparison. The lack of knowledge about this thoroughly satisfying breakfast food is widespread; there are some scary myths floating around out there.

Recently, I was again forced to defend the World’s Best Breakfast Meat against ignorant anti-Scrapple propaganda when a local radio personality posited over the airwaves that “scrapple is made from wieners.” If you aren’t in third grade anymore, you may not understand that he was actually stating that scrapple is made from pig genitals. Why would anyone even believe that? It is sad to think that they would, prompting me to set the record straight.

Being raised outside of Philadelphia, I grew up with scrapple. My mom made a big breakfast after church every Sunday which almost always consisted of scrapple, eggs and toast. Sometimes we had link sausage, but most often it was scrapple and it was a family favorite. As a child, I took it for granted that everyone knew what scrapple was and that you could get it anywhere. Wrong!

Scrapple is a dish that was created by the Pennsylvania Dutch. They were known for their thrift and used everything that was edible. When they made liverwurst or sausage, they used the “scraps” from that to create scrapple. Scrapple DOES contain some parts of the pig that some would normally perhaps not use, such as the liver and the heart. However, people use the gizzards from chicken to make gravy and stock and fried chicken livers are a favorite of many people where I live now.

You can’t find scrapple where I live now and most people don’t know much about it. I find that what they do know about it is as wrong as wrong can be. The following pig parts are NOT USED in any scrapple brand that I have ever heard of: snouts, ears, feet, tail, genitals. Also, scrapple is NOT the same as “Head Cheese” which is something so disgusting-looking that it is beyond belief that anyone would confuse the two! (keep in mind when viewing the picture below that someone went out of their way to make this look appetizing!)

There are only two brands of scrapple worth buying: Jones and Habbersett’s. Habbersett’s is the KING of scrapple. The difference is in the seasonings. Jones comes close, but it cannot match the savory blend of spices that makes Habbersett’s the favorite of scrapple lovers everywhere. It is impossible to get good scrapple where I live now. In the past, I have been able to order Jones scrapple at a local grocery store, but they will not carry it for long because I am the only one that buys it. People here in Kansas just don’t know what they are missing!

Here are some scrapple truths:

Wikipedia: Scrapple or pon haus (Dutch) is a savory mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and flour, often buckwheat flour. The mush is formed into a loaf, and slices of the scrapple are then fried before serving. Scraps of meat left over from butchering, not used or sold elsewhere, were made into scrapple to avoid waste. Scrapple is best known as a regional American food of the Mid-Atlantic States (Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland).
Scrapple is typically cut into quarter-inch to three-quarter-inch slices, and pan-fried until browned to form a crust. It is sometimes first coated with flour. It may be fried in butter or oil and is sometimes deep-fried.
Scrapple is arguably the first pork food invented in America. The culinary ancestor of scrapple was the Low German dish called Panhas, which was adapted to make use of locally available ingredients, and it is still called "panhoss" or "pannhas" in parts of Pennsylvania. The first recipes were created more than two hundred years ago by German colonists who settled near Philadelphia and Chester County, Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th centuries.

I have never personally tasted a scrapple as good as Habbersett’s, ( which is made in Pennsylvania and not sold at any store even REMOTELY close to where I live. Sadly, the Habbersett’s website is extremely limited and outdated. It doesn’t appear as though it has been updated since 2003. I have tried the email addresses listed there in an attempt to have some scrapple sent to me, but have never received a reply to any email I have sent. If anyone out there has a Habbersett’s connection, will you please hook me UP??? (I’m dying over here!)

The picture above depicts scrapple as it appears after slicing, cooking and then cutting in half (bottom right below the star-shaped bread). The kid that had THAT lunch was one lucky little bug!!

I found this website that has LOTS of recipes containing scrapple. I might even try some myself, if I can ever get my hands on some decent scrapple:

I found this website for a scrapple brand that I never heard of. It is promising in that both the ingredients and the packaging appear very similar to Habbersett’s. HOWEVER, apparently they only ship scrapple during the holidays. BUMMER!!

NEVER go to this website to find out more about scrapple; it’s full of inaccuracies!! (Lips and assholes—really???! Who would believe that these parts could even be separated from the carcass, nevermind packaged and sold??) This sort of ignorant raving from an admirer of Scrapple is completely inexcusable.

If you are lucky enough to live in a place where scrapple is sold (particularly Habbersett's or Jones) and have never tasted it; do yourself a favor and get some to cook this weekend. You simply slice it and fry it. Serve it with fried eggs (over medium) and toast. Then, just for me, mash it up and mix it with the eggs and use your toast to mop up every last delicious drop! (At least that way I can live vicariously through your scrapple experience!)

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bob Cesca Puts the Pieces Together at The Huffington Post

I strongly urge anyone that cares about the issue of investigation and prosecution into US Torture policies to click on the link above. Read what Bob Cesca has to say about the reason these policies were put into place. Finally, it all makes sense!

When terrorists struck on 9/11, the official line from our government was that the reason that terrorists wanted to kill us was because “they hate us for our freedom.” It sounds bad now, but even sounded really stupid at the time. Upon further investigation, it actually appears that they hate us because of our foreign policy, which actually makes sense (THOUGH IT DOESN’T EXCUSE TERRORIST ACTIVITIES, THE MURDER OF INNOCENT PEOPLE, ETC.).

That said, when we initially began to hear that the Bush Administration had invented a torture policy for the prisoners they were holding in Guantanamo, the reasoning that most liberals gave at the time was that the Bush Administration was just evil. While it may contain some truth, it rang hollow. Closet sadists? These are people with enough power and money that they could afford to live out those sort of fantasies anytime they wanted without incurring legal entanglements.

Bob Cesca’s article finally lights a bulb over the whole issue. And it also connects one of the other crimes that the Bush Administration committed against this country: Fraudulently leading us into an illegal war. Things always make more sense when you get a handle on the bigger picture. And if it can be shown that the administration used torture to illicit confessions to back up their phony reasons for the Iraq war, they are doubly damned.

As I see it, this is more reason than ever that those involved should be prosecuted. We don’t need a commission; that would be a partisan enterprise which would eventually be hijacked by conservatives for political gain.


If you are reading this, take a moment to express your support for a special prosecutor to The Justice Department c/o Eric Holder, The President c/o his website and Congress and Senate c/o the representatives of your district.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

How Many Police Does It Take To Silence the Voice of the People?

The following is the text of a newsletter that I received regarding the current health care debate in this country. Though much has been made about real change in our nation’s health care policies, we are in real danger of no change, especially if we leave the decision up to our bought-and-paid-for Senators. Obama’s health care plan never included the kind of REAL CHANGE that this country needs in order to stay viable and healthy (physically and economically). But the small amount of change that he has supported is in danger of being stomped out, too. Please view the video, read below and pass a link to this blog on to your friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members that are concerned about the rising cost of health care and insurance.

How many police does it take to silence the voice of the people? That’s a question a despot might ask in a totalitarian police state.

But this week the Senate Finance Committee thought it was a hilarious joke as they ejected one brave activist after another, for protesting that not even one spokesperson for single payer health care was being allowed to sit at the hearing table. Yes, Senator Max Baucus (MT), who had preemptively declared that consideration of a single payer option was off the table, actually joked, “We need more police [1:58 on video].” And the rest of the Senate panel just laughed their heads off.

Senator Chuck Grassley (IA), the ranking Republican, not to be outdone in his contempt for the people, then asked if there was “somewhere they can watch it on television [2:05 on video],” which elicited additional hearty guffaws. Yes, what a wonderful entertaining show that would be, the spectacle of the will of the people being excluded while corporate special interests, like butchers, carve up our pocketbooks and our bodies.

…It’s time for the U.S. Senate to get the message that We The People are not just a joke to be laughed off. Why is it that not ONE senator on that committee has the integrity to stand up for an even handed debate of health care issues? Why should any of them be elected to public office ever again?

So let’s see a show of hands. How many of you would like to sign up now for a commie Marxist national health care system ... like in Canada, England and other pinko Bolshevik countries like that? How stupid do they think we are, to try to reduce the terms of the debate to such an ignorant level?

Meet the new mass media scare label, “socialized” medicine. As opposed to, like, what? ... the ANTI-social corporate medical insurance industry we have now, where patients have no role except to be cash cows, by design never to be actually cured?

If you or anyone in your family has ever been seriously ill, and as we ALL will be someday, you know the medical industry will pick your bones clean of every dime you ever earned in your life, just in time to drop you into the cheapest possible pine box.

Why are members of Congress fighting so hard to keep single payer health care out of the public debate? Because there are no fat profits in it for their special interest corporate campaign contributors, who maximize their profits the sicker we are. They cannot compete with a low overhead, efficiently-run government program, just like we have NOW with the existing proven Medicare system.

Instead, they will line up a bunch of corporate lobbyists and stooges to tell bald-faced lies. Just like Senator Jim Bunning himself who asserted that Canada and England had tax rate of at LEAST 60% to support single payer. (Not even close)

But they don’t even want anyone around to even have a chance to call them out on their willful and malicious lies. [THIS IS THE KIND OF LIE THAT, ONCE THROWN INTO THE PUBLIC FORUM WILL BE REPEATED OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN IN THE RIGHT WING MEDIA, REGARDLESS OF ITS INACCURACY-WATCH FOR IT.]

Yes, all those who love to preach to the rest of us about the free market and competition are shown to be interested only in a rigged market and a rigged debate. Baucus may put on a face of being slightly chastened, but he STILL will not allow any honest testimony on single payer.

But we can beat them.

This is the pivotal moment. We have been speaking out for HR 676 (Medicare for all) for YEARS. And now 8 incredibly brave activists have been hauled away because they would not remain silent. But in doing so, in putting their own bodies on the line, they have shown up the current “debate” for the total sham that it is.

...submit a one-click action page that we have specially configured to send your message to the Senate Finance Committee as a hard copy pdf that they can’t just laugh off, because it will be part of the permanent record. Plus your message will go to all your regular members of Congress, plus your nearest daily local newspaper as well if that option is selected.

Click on link in Blog Title to be redirected to the Single Payer Action Page or type the following address into your browser window:

At 3:20 of the video posted on the action page above you will hear a woman loudly ask, “I wonder how many there are?” Let’s show them.

Let’s show them there are millions and millions of us out here who will no longer be ignored, who will no longer be laughed off. Because they KNOW we can stop them if and only if large numbers of us will raise our voices now.

Let’s just do it.

And here is a list of all Senators on the Finance Committee, including at least a couple who you might have considered to be “liberals”. Where are their voices? Is there not a single one of them who will stand up and say, “No wait a minute, we need to hear what the single payer advocates have to say”? So, especially if one of these is one of YOUR personal Senators, they need to hear from you now. [THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF THE PROCESS THAT WILL EITHER CHANGE HEALTHCARE FOR THE BETTER IN THIS COUNTRY OR LEAVE US AT THE MERCY OF THE GREEDY CORPORATOCRACY.]

No, we don’t need more police. We need fewer Senators with plugs in their ears like Max Baucus. And he and the rest of them need to hear that.

My sixteen cents: (inflation)

For a long time now, we have been hearing about how costly single-payer health insurance would be, all the while watching our private, for-profit health insurance rise precipitously.

We’ve been told that the quality of care we receive would suffer in a single-payer system. Meanwhile, both the quality and the availability of care is decreasing for an ever-increasing number of people who can no longer afford health insurance or are unemployed and have lost their coverage.

We’ve heard that increased enrollment in Medicare would bankrupt the nation and that we would all be taxed at a higher rate to pay for it. News Flash: We are already paying for it. [That’s right, Senator Bunning, if you had been paying attention, the point has already been made in a multitude of studies and articles on the subject, some even by the government you work for, that the costs of the uninsured are being passed on to the rest of us in increased health insurance premiums and increased hospital and physician charges.] The kicker is, if you know anything about the way health insurance works, the hospitals, doctors, medical supply companies and pharmaceutical companies are CHARGING MORE for the care of uninsured people because those with insurance have the benefit of insurance companies bargaining charges down with providers. So, they bargain down charges and fees for those that have insurance and then the hospital charges the increased rates ONLY for those that do not have insurance coverage and, when those fees go uncollected, they then get passed on to the rest of us in the form of rising costs and inflated premiums (And are a nifty loss on the books at tax timewhich results in less taxes, therefore ripping off the taxpayers again).

Nice little racket, isn’t it? I can see how this system would be preferable to one in which the government sets the charges and the hospitals and doctors get paid for all of their charges instead of just some. Right, Senator Bunning???

And to answer the misguided statement again, NO, Senator Baucus, we don’t more police. We need a Senate that listens to WE THE PEOPLE instead of the greedy corporatocracy.

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