‘Pink slime’ debate feels a little hostile

Scrapple

No matter where I end up in this world, I’ll never be able to deny my rural roots.

I was born and raised in Montour County, Pa. with parents who embrace their small town culture.

So why does the recent debate over “pink slime” feel like an attack on my rural Pennsylvania roots?

My mother and my boyfriend LOVE scrapple. They can’t get enough of it. While Mike prefers his scrapple fried, my mother takes a block of that stuff and a knife and just goes to town. (I, on the other hand, am not a fan, but I digress).

While many of you probably know what scrapple is, for those of you who don’t, here’s the Wikipedia definition:

“Scrapple, also known by the Pennsylvania Dutch name pon haus is traditionally a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and flour, often buckwheat flour, and spices. The mush is formed into a semi-solid congealed loaf, and slices of the scrapple are then panfried 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 rural American food of the Mid-Atlantic states (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland). Scrapple is found in supermarkets throughout the region in both fresh and frozen refrigerated cases.”

A.K.A. scrapple is the un-sanitized version of pink slime, which is “made from fatty bits of leftover meat that are heated, spun to remove the fat, compressed into blocks and exposed to ammonia to kill bacteria,” according to news reports.

That’s right, the food that has people across the country gagging and protesting is loved by many people in our state.

Which leads me to think, “Are they judging us?”

I mean, there are plenty of local delicacies “outsiders” don’t seem to partake in, but I guess it hurts a little bit turning on the television and seeing people talking about how disgusting our “local delicacy” should seem to everyone.

So, needless to say, I won’t be signing any online petitions to remove pink slime from my beef.

And if you’re grossed out by the concept, I wouldn’t recommend visiting my parents’ house.

About Ashley Wislock

Business reporter focusing on retail for the York Daily Record/Sunday News. In my spare time, I'm a social media, sports, reality TV and celebrity gossip junkie. Contact me at awislock@ydr.com or 717-771-2029!
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4 Responses to ‘Pink slime’ debate feels a little hostile

  1. Sarah Chain says:

    I’m pretty sure the issue most have with “pink slime” is the ammonia used to treat it. With most of America’s meat now coming from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), it’s easier for diseases to spread and contaminate thousands of animals. Sanitizing with ammonia makes sense from that perspective, but it makes me a little squeamish to have that in my food.

    I’ve never had scrapple, nor am I from the area, but it seems to me that if it originated as a way to use these leftover bits, it likely also originated in small butcher shops and smaller farms that had better conditions for their animals, and less of a sanitation challenge for which ammonia might be needed.

  2. Rory says:

    I’m with Sarah. The problem part — at least for those of us who realize the ground meat is, well, ground — is the ammonia. Which is introduced merely to kill off the e coli and other bacteria that would not be present if the cattle were a) raised in better conditions — ideally grass fed pasture raised and b) the factories which butcher the cattle could better control for cross contamination.

    The FDA may have deemed it safe, but I have never found a need to add a teaspoon of ammonia when I cook. For those who are unable or unwilling to switch to grass fed pasture raised this is a step in the right direction.

  3. Michelle Oerman says:

    I have lived in this area for most of my life, and was born in Western Pa. I have solid German and Irish roots on my mother’s side of the family. My grandfather loved pigs feet and tongue, and my mother fed me liver puddin in slices as a child. My father, who has Pennsylvania Dutch and French roots also indulged in delicacies such as scrapple with syrup on it. I don’t particularly care for scrapple or puddin’ ( not to be confused with the chocolate variety). I do know however that the Pennsylvania Dutch people take great pains not to waste any part of the butchered animal. One thing that I will never eat is head cheese! Ugh… But I agree… It’s the ammonia thing that really has me and probably a lot of other people disgusted by the pink slime…. No matter how gross the head cheese looks, at least I am sure there isn’t any chemical involved in production!

  4. ashley wislock says:

    I see what y’all are saying – but I don’t know. When The “pink slime” pieces come on ABC (the channel I watch, so I don’t know too much about the other major networks’ coverage) they emphasize the image – how “Gross” it is because it looks like pink slime and is basically mush. Very little is actually said about the ammonia additive.

    But I can see your points.

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