Only in York County

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Ponhaus and puddin’ aplenty

We haven’t had a good scrapple post in awhile, and I was going back through some old e-mails and found that this was a topic that’s drawn comments worldwide! There was this comment from reader Ann:

“I grew up in York County and enjoyed ponhaus which my mother fried in the big iron skillet. Initially, I liked it with apple butter or syrup but later enjoyed it just plain … softer in the middle with a crisp crust on the outside. Later, my children were brought up with that wonderful breakfast food. Today, I live in San Antonio and don’t have access to that delectable dish but when I visit good old York County, I go to market, pack it well and freeze plenty then check in my baggage on the airline. It arrives still frozen! It is a treat to share with my children. Thanks for the memories.”

I also had this comment from reader Bill about the origins of our favorite slab of meat:

“According to Habbersetts, a well-known manufacturer of scrapple, it was invented not by Pennsylvania Dutch (who were really German) but by true Dutch, from Holland, who were the earliest settlers of the region around Philadelphia (New Netherland).” (See

Then there’s Barry, who brings some cooking expertise:

“I am a descendant of (also a chef by trade) people who fled from of Eisenhart, Germany, in the early 1700s. They settled north of Philly, in the Lehigh Valley. These people brought with them recipes for (head cheese) souse, which is found all over Europe and Canada. My Great Grammy Eisenhart would make souse and then split the batch in half. The one half she would mix cornmeal and buckwheat flour into to make scrapple. They probably did this to keep it preserved longer in the early days without refrigeration. I doubt you will find this in Europe since cornmeal and buckwheat flour are pretty much American. Currently I live in upstate NY and I miss scrapple. So I make my own!”

Julie, meanwhile, also weighs in from Texas. She wrote, in late December:

“I live in a German town in Texas called Muenster. My husband’s ancestors are from Germany. Every New Year’s Day we eat panhaus (in fact, my husband is making it right now). It is made with pork and oatmeal. His mother grew up eating it and it was made with a hog’s head. His father grew up eating it too, but it was made with cornmeal. We slice it and fry it very slowly til it is real crispy, then we serve it with syrup. The first time I tried it, I didn’t like it at all, but now I love it!”

Tracey, a friend from right here in town, is a woman after my own heart. She says:

“I have never eaten it, but my entire PA Dutch family will eat it plain, but the preferred method is with Kings syrup!”

Now, I know someone who agrees with THAT sentiment! Maybe Mark from Austria, my farthest-away reader! See his thoughts about King Syrup and scrapple here.

Really interested in scrapple? Check out these posts from the archives:

· More than you ever wanted to know
· Pudding and ponhaus at market
· The New York Times, a historical look back at everyone’s favorite “meat”

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