I am stuck in town this weekend, which means, once again, I will be missing the annual Shelby, North Carolina, Fall Festival and Livermush Expo. Another year I won’t be crowned Livermush Queen.
Livermush is indigenous to the South and specifically to Western North Carolina. Lest you assume it is the same as scrapple, allow me to point out the distinctions. Both are composed of pig liver, head parts and cornmeal, commonly seasoned with pepper and sage and fried with grease in a skillet until crisp. By definition, livermush must contain liver; scrapple may but doesn’t have to. Scrapple originated in Pennsylvania.
The first time I tasted scrapple was on a camping trip with my aunt and uncle. Oh, how I loved that first crunch, then the mush. Mmmm-mm.
My husband was born and reared in Shelby. I was interested to learn of the first Fall Festival and Livermush Expo in 1987. I think they crowned a Livermush Queen in those days, but that rite now appears absent from the Expo. I remember telling my in-laws how cool I thought it was that Shelby had a livermush festival, noting that I was a big fan of the stuff. My mother-in-law was horrified. Apparently not everyone in Shelby enjoys livermush. I believe she said only “those of poor breeding” have a taste for such things. I further embarrassed myself—and her—when I ordered it at breakfast once. I feel bad about that.
My husband’s parents have since passed away. We rarely visit Shelby but for the occasional funeral or Shelby High reunion. But before I die, I hope to attend this momentous event. I’d visit all the exhibits, taste one of Mack’s famous livermush sandwiches, sample the delicacy on a stick, maybe sip some sweet tea.
Yep, that’s another one for the bucket list. I suspect I’ll be going alone.