A/N: I don't own Bones. I would, however, be interested in renting Booth by the hour (a five-hour minimum would apply).
This is a little one-shot that came to mind after reading my friend Diko's review of chapter 42 of "Everything Happens Eventually."
"You two decide what you want?" the fifty-something waitress asked, her lips fanned with fine lines that revealed her to be a life-long smoker.
"Yes," Brennan said. "I'll have a poached egg, rye toast and fresh fruit. Oh, and a glass of your fresh-squeezed orange juice."
"And you, handsome?" Brennan raised an eyebrow as Booth grinned.
"I'll have the #2 breakfast special with three eggs over hard, wheat toast, hash and scrapple. And a glass of milk."
The waitress scribbled their order on her mint-green notepad and walked away.
Brennan watched her disappear behind the swinging door to the kitchen. "Booth, your breakfast order doesn't sound very healthy."
"Yeah," he said. "So?" He smirked, then narrowed his eyes critically. "Hey, who says it's not healthy? I need lots of protein to feed these muscles of mine you like and those carbs for energy. And milk for strong bones. You know—milk, it does a body good." He could tell by her expression that she had no idea about the ad campaign he was referring to, and he couldn't help but snicker.
"Hmmph," she grunted dismissively. "What on earth is scrapple anyway?"
Booth looked up and closed one eye, trying to remember exactly what the constituent ingredients of scrapple were. Brennan's question brought forth a wave of memories that washed over him as he considered the answer. He thought back to his grandmother—her face bathed in the morning sun as it shone through the slats of the vinyl blinds—and the countless hours he spent in her kitchen watching her cook.
"Uh-oh." Brennan rolled her eyes. "Why do I have a feeling I'm not going to want to hear the answer, Booth?"
He laughed. "Scrapple is, like the name suggests, made from pork scraps," he said.
"Um, yeah," he said hesitatingly. "You know, the bits and pieces leftover after processing the rest of the animal—the head, feet, tail, bones, organs like heart, liver and kidneys. My Grams used to make scrapple from scratch. She'd buy the pork scraps from the neighborhood butcher, boil it all in a pot until it all cooks down, discard the bones and fat, then she'd mix the meaty broth with cornmeal, buckwheat flour and spices until it forms a mush. Then she'd form the mush into loaves, like little loaves of bread, then let it cool until set. Then she'd slice up the loaves, fry up the slices, and wham—scrapple!"
"That sounds absolutely disgusting, Booth," she said, her lips twisted in revulsion. "You would actually eat that?"
"Absolutely," he laughed. "It's very tasty. Goes great with eggs. A lot of fairs in Pennsylvania and Delaware will have kiosks that sell scrapple sandwiches."
"Sounds nasty," she said. "I'm very glad I'm a vegetarian."
Booth scowled. "Now, wait a minute. You're being pretty judgmental about this, Bones, which is kind of unlike you. An anthropologist like you should be more open-minded about this kind of thing."
"How so?" she bristled.
"Think of scrapple as recycling," he said. "It's putting the leftover bits of the animal to good use and reducing waste."
"It's still gross," she said. "Even people who aren't vegetarians would likely find that to be a pretty disgusting thing to eat."
"Now wait—a lot of ethnic or regional dishes involve comfort foods that utilize what would otherwise be considered waste products: sausages of all kinds, tongue, chopped liver, pickled pig's feet, head cheese, lutefisk, gefilte fish, oxtail stew, tripe, barbacoa."
"That's true," she admitted with reservation in her voice. "But it still—"
She was interrupted by the sound of a bell in the kitchen.
"Come on, Bones," he said somewhat pleadingly. "There must be some deeper anthropological meaning to it all—I mean, why the parts of these ethnic cuisines that die so hard as traditions are those involving use of waste products. Right?"
The waitress returned to their table, a plate in each hand. As she set Booth's plate down in front of him, Brennan eyed his breakfast, in particular the square of scrapple on the side of the dish. It looked like a thin slice of pan-fried meatloaf, but the thought of its ingredients made her stomach turn a little. Booth caught her staring at his food and offered nothing but a smug grin in return. He grabbed the bottle of ketchup, squirted a bit of it on his corned beef hash and then dug into his Philly-style breakfast.
A couple of minutes later she broke the silence.
"Okay," she said with a sigh as she mopped up the last of her egg yolk with her rye toast.
"What?" he said, holding up a small square of scrapple on the tip of his fork with a smirk.
"You're right," she said quietly, knowing he loved to hear her say that—as rare a phenomenon as that was.
"About what?" he asked, knowing the answer.
"You know what," she retorted. He just shook his head and popped the ketchup-smeared square of scrapple into his mouth with a satisfied grin.
"Hmmmph," he grunted as he cut into the last of his eggs.
She cocked her head and leveled a glare in his direction.
"I would theorize that these types of foods—scrapple and the like—remain popular with certain ethnic and regional cultural groups because they are distinct cultural markers that distinguish the experience of that group from other cultural groups. These foods serve as reminders of earlier times when better, more expensive foods were unavailable or unaffordable, and retaining those foods as a cultural practice is a way of passing down the memory of those difficult times from one generation to the other."
"I think I know what you mean," he said with a nod. "Want some?" he asked, looking up at her with a smile and wagging a forkful of scrapple over her plate.
"I think not, Booth," she growled.
"And to think all this time that you were a proponent of recycling..." he quipped.
"Shut up, Booth," she said. "Finish your breakfast—we've got a witness to interview in a half hour."
He nodded and made quick work of the last of his eggs and scrapple.
"You don't know what you're missing, Bones," he said teasingly.
"I do, Booth," she snapped back. "And that's precisely the problem."
They both laughed as Booth signaled for the check.
Please don't read and run. Leave a review, dammit! Good, bad, indifferent or insulting. Any review is better than no review.