PA Dutch Meats
Having been born and raised in Pennsylvania Dutch territory, I am all too familiar with Pennsylvania Dutch meats. Not to belittle my local butchers, but some PA Dutch meats are revolting. However, some PA Dutch meats are actually quite good.
PA Dutch culture is German. Many people mistakenly believe that the PA Dutch are Dutch as in from Holland. The misnomer of "PA Dutch" is due to how a German person may answer the question, "What nationality are you?" The answer would likely be "Deutsch" which means "German" in German. This was misunderstood to be "Dutch."
Hence, the local German population has long been known as the PA Dutch. So, the foods from this area have a German origin or influence. Even though some of the foods may not be appealing, they are interesting and represent the culture.
In my opinion, this meat is just not appetizing whatsoever but many local people enjoy it. Imagine bits and pieces of pork enveloped in clear jelly. That's souse. In other areas, it might be known as head cheese. People eat this directly from the butcher as it is and not usually as an ingredient except maybe on a sandwich.
Scrapple is like a cornmeal mush that includes pork meal. It is formed into loaves. The scrapple is then sliced and fried. This is often considered a breakfast meat. Most commonly, people serve scrapple with eggs. Some people top their scrapple with maple syrup. Scrapple has a unique flavor and texture. The texture is similar to fried cornmeal mush with a hint of a sausage-like flavor.
Being as I am from Lebanon, I've had more than my share of Lebanon bologna sandwiches. Lebanon bologna comes in regular and sweet varieties. The texture is much tougher than Oscar Myer bologna. It is dark in color with white specks. It is usually eaten sliced on sandwiches, but people also eat chunks of it plain or with mustard. As a teenager, my siblings and I discovered frying thick slices Lebanon bologna which we enjoyed plain or topped with a slice of melted American cheese.
Country sausage, sometimes called rope sausage, is sold in much longer lengths than typical sausages. The sausage is a little less than two inches in diameter and is sold in varying lengths. The sausage is often cooked in a skillet in about a half-inch of water then cut to appropriate serving sizes. This sausage is often served for lunch or dinner with side dishes of potatoes and vegetables.
Some PA Dutch meats are common among other cultural groups in the United States who value using as much of a butchered animal as possible. Chicken hearts, gizzards, and livers that are breaded and fried are a common treat at Farmer's Markets in the area. Beef heart is a regular feature on some menus of local PA Dutch restaurants, but not readily available in grocery stores. Pickled pigs' feet is popular in this area as well. Even if some of the PA Dutch meats are less appetizing than others, I have to respect the frugality and stewardship of the PA Dutch.
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