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Scrapple? Candidates Christine O'Donnell and Chris Coons love the 'delicacy'

At the 19th annual Apple Scrapple Festival in rural Delaware, US Senate candidates Chris Coons and Christine O'Donnell worked the crowd of potential voters. And – surprise! – they both claim to love scrapple.

By Staff writer / October 10, 2010

Republican US Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell worked the crowd of potential voters at the 19th annual Apple Scrapple Festival in rural Delaware. So did Chris Coons, her Democratic rival. And – surprise! – they both claim to love scrapple.

Warren Richey/The Christian Science Monitor

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Bridgeville, Del.

It’s crispy brown on the outside, moist and spicy on the inside. And when served up with the candidates in one of the most-watched Senate races in the country, you get the 19th annual Apple Scrapple Festival in rural Bridgeville, Delaware.

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Like the Bidens and slow traffic on I-95, scrapple is a Delaware tradition. For the uninitiated, scrapple is a Pennsylvania Dutch delicacy made of hog byproducts (snout, heart, liver), corn meal, flour, and spices, mixed into a mush and formed into loaves, then sliced off and fried. It’s usually served for breakfast, but scrapple sandwiches make a fine lunch, or so I’m told. Here in Bridgeville, they’ve been making RAPA Scrapple – named for company founders Ralph and Paul Adams – since 1926.

Anybody running for office in Delaware knows that on the second weekend in October, the Apple Scrapple Festival is the place to be. (Apples are another big local product. You know what those are.)

Democratic Senate candidate Chris Coons and his wife, Annie, showed up first. Though polls show him far ahead of Republican Christine O’Donnell statewide, the conservative southern part of the state isn’t exactly Coons country. Among the throngs of people out on this hot, sunny day, O’Donnell stickers and T-shirts far outnumber Coons paraphernalia.

But the Coonses soldier on. Standing near the Democratic Party booth, they greet voters, some of whom speak to Mr. Coons as if they’ve known the county executive of New Castle County up in northern Delaware forever. It’s such a small state – it has only one House member in Congress – maybe they do.

“That guy calls me every day and says, ‘You need more lawn signs up!’ ” Coons says after talking to one man.

How far can you chuck that wad of scrapple?

Then it’s time to head off to the Mayor's Invitational Scrapple Sling, where Coons was to compete with local officials to see who could propel a package of scrapple the farthest. No word yet on how he did. I stuck around by the political booths to await the arrival of Ms. O’Donnell , the newest darling of the conservative tea party movement and butt of late-night jokes about her youthful dabbling in witchcraft.

O’Donnell stunned the political universe Sept. 14 by defeating the heavily favored Rep. Mike Castle – a fixture in Delaware politics for 40 years – in the GOP primary.

When O’Donnell arrives, applause breaks out. Well-wishers are eager to greet her, and as she makes her way down South Cannon St., the crowd gets big enough that an impromptu police escort forms. But there’s plenty of access to O’Donnell, who dispenses hugs and “God bless you’s” to folks who want to shake her hand and pose for a photo. A few serve notice that she’ll have to earn their support.

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