Cool weather conjures up thoughts of hog killin' and scrapple makin'. After the hams and bacon have been put down in cure and the sausage is all ground and the lard rendered and the feets pickled and the snouts soused, you take what's left (the scraps) and make scrapple. Now, I have seen a lot of recipes for making scrapple. Most say to start with a shoulder or some such good piece of meat. Blasphemy! Everybody knows there are better ways to use a shoulder and such wanton waste would not have been tolerated back when times were tight and folks had to make the most of what they had. I have also had some Pennsylvania scrapple that was way too strong in liver. Here's how we used to make it back when I was a youngun.
1 Grandmother to make sure everything is done "just so"
1 Mother to do most of the preparations. Overseen by ingredient #1
2 Children, big enough to stir the pot but not smart enough to be somewhere else
Hog heads (number depending upon how many hogs were killed)
About 1/4 of the livers (the rest having been made into liver pudding or fried)
Various and sundry other parts of the pig not used to make other delicacies
Maybe a little celery salt to highlight the flavors (optional)
Stone ground white cornmeal
The feature attraction is the cleaned head. Remove the eyeballs (the brains were removed on killing day and scrambled with eggs the next morning), break the head(s) into manageable pieces with a cleaver, and cook them down in a kettle of boiling water 'til the meat is easily pulled. Skim the fat from the water and save. Pull all of the meat and fat (separate) from the heads and chop up the chunks. Cook the liver and heart and whatever else wasn't used in other delicacies and grind them up. Get a tote-sack full of corn meal and keep it handy. Put the meat, heart, and other scraps (except liver) back into the simmering kettle of stock. Add liver until you can taste it but the liver flavor does not predominate. You can put some of the fat in if you wish. Add salt and celery salt - the cornmeal will take a lot of salt so you get this mixture fairly salty. Stir. Taste. Add sage and pepper to taste - not too much, now. Stir. Taste. Pass the spoon around so everybody can pass judgment. When it's right, you should taste salt first, then liver - but not too strong, rich pork meat flavor and a hint of sage. When everybody (especially ingredient #1) is agreed that it couldn't possibly be better, bring out the cornmeal and kids.
Now comes the hard part! Slowly stir in the cornmeal with a long wooden spoon - not too much at a time, now. Keep stirring. Add cornmeal. Keep stirring. Add cornmeal. Keep stirring. As the mixture starts to get thick, add some of the liquid fat that had been skimmed earlier. Keep stirring. Not thick enough yet. Add a little more corn meal. Keep stirring. A little more fat until there is a slight sheen to the surface but no visible oil. Keep stirring.
"Just where do you think you're going? Get back there and stir that pot!! "
As the mixture thickens and you fine tune the ratio of fat to cornmeal, it will start to separate from the sides of the kettle. This is a good thing 'cause the kids are about tuckered. Ladle it into lightly greased, shallow, rectangular or square tin pans to a thickness of about 2 1/2 inches. Be careful - it's still hot! Start slapping it down with the palm of your hand. Slap it like you mean it! SLAP IT! If you are doing it right, your hand should be beet red, sore and covered with a light coat of pig oil. Good. Now let the pans cool, cover with waxed paper and put them in the frigidare or cold pantry.
Next morning, remove scrapple from the pan and slice about 3/8" thick. Lightly flour both sides. Heat about 1/4" of bacon grease in an iron skillet 'til it just starts to smoke. Fry until outside starts to crisp but the inside is still soft. Drain briefly on a paper towel. Serve with Log Cabin syrup and eggs. There's nothing else like it in this world!!