Pudding meat?

April 7, 2014

Ellen and I took some vacation last week hence no Ruminations. And to be honest, it was an emotionally taxing week filled with highs and lows. Sometime in the future I may write about that but not now… too much. I need a little smile today… so I want to tell you about our breakfast at a diner in North Central Pennsylvania.

Since we were traveling to Boston, MA we decided to leave on Thursday late afternoon and drive for several hours just to take a bite out of the long trip. As I looked for places to stay on the internet I asked Ellen if she wanted to be boring i.e. a chain motel with breakfast provided, or an out of the way “Inn”. We decided to be adventurous. We settled on the Watson Inn in Watsontown, PA. Never heard of it?? Neither had we. It’s near Milton if that helps. It turns out the Watson Inn is an old historic 3 story building with a nice restaurant and bar on the first floor with numerous rooms on the winding, voluminous second and third floors. We were the only inhabitants. Outside of the stifling heat in our room and the signs to not open the windows, which thankfully I didn’t see until the next morning, it wasn’t a bad place. But they don’t serve breakfast. That’s where the D & E Diner comes in.

A short walk down the street from the Watson Inn we found refuge from the rain in the D & E. It’s a fine little establishment that looks more like a cement bomb shelter from the outside. It was just pure luck that allowed me to see the very small D & E on the glass door… there was no sign. If not for the letters we would have walked right on by.

We seated ourselves… the waitress was prompt and polite.


“Yes please.”

“The specials today are 1. Eggs, bacon and home fries. 2. A stack of pancakes. Or 3. Pudding meat on a pancake.”

“Excuse me… what was the third one again?”

“Pudding meat on a pancake.”

“Uh… what’s ‘Pudding meat’?”

At this point she made a disgusted face and said “it’s something like scrapple mixed with liverwurst and mashed into a paste. I’ll get you some so you can try it.” If you don’t know what Scrapple or Liverwurst are… look them up… it will be an education for you.

Shortly thereafter she returned to our table with a glob of “pudding meat” on a small dish. Truthfully? It looks like smashed brains mixed with cornflakes. Kind of a grayish pink color. I took a spoonful and gently placed it in my mouth. It was actually pretty good… well for the first second or so until my taste buds rebelled. The message sent to my brain was pretty clear “get this out of my mouth NOW!” But not wanting to be rude or disrespectful I gave the bad news to my throat and digestive tract… “here it comes!” I didn’t gag… but I wanted to with every fiber of my being. Water didn’t remove the taste and it was only after dousing my mouth with scalding hot coffee that I could speak. “Yuck, that’s disgusting! How do they eat this over a pancake?” I asked. The waitress said “with syrup or butter.” DOUBLE YUCK!!!

So next time you’re in Watsontown, PA and you stop at the D & E… well you’ve been warned.

All of that to say this… out of great respect for the Pennsylvania Dutch (makers of pudding meat) and others of their ilk… we are all different. We have different histories, traditions, values, etc. And for the most part that’s okay. And I think it’s important that we respect our differences. It makes sense to me that we cherish the things that set us apart because they define our past and our present. That being said, in the context of the FAITH… there have to be some truths don’t you think? I mean some things that we agree on that cannot be changed or compromised lest we are in a category outside of Christianity… no matter what the world or the culture tries to tell us… or frankly others who call themselves Believers.

Maybe an obvious example… or what should be an obvious example.

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

It seems that so many folks are struggling through life trying to figure out what truth is, or which way they should go, or simply what their life should be about. That question, at least in my mind, has been answered. How that works out on a practical level is a different question but I think Jesus has shown us the way and the truth and the life. It’s him…period. If we are not seeking after the Son of God for purpose and truth… well… then we are seeking in vain.

p.s. I did not send this to Ellen for editing so… sorry about the grammatical errors.


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