Scrapple and breakfast pretzels at Reading Terminal Market

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Local journalists swarmed the pan of scrapple at the center of Reading Terminal Market’s media breakfast buffet, but many out-of-towners weren’t bold enough to try the PA Dutch savory treat — even if they were just visiting from across the state.

“Restaurants don’t really serve scrapple in Harrisburg that much,” said a videographer from ABC27 News, who instead went with the bacon-egg pretzel from Miller’s Twist. “I didn’t try it because I wasn’t sure what to expect.”

A reporter from Seattle knew what was waiting for him in the crispy brown brick — and that’s exactly why he declined to put it on his plate. “They told me to think of it like I would a hot dog,” he said. “But I don’t eat those either.” (“Are you one of those granola Seattle guys?” a nearby RTM representative teased, eliciting a very West Coast blank stare in response.)

Montreal-based reporter Nathalie Dumas, on the other hand, was thrilled with her scrapple, which had been provided for the event by RTM’s Down Home Diner.

“When I cut into it, I didn’t know it would be soft inside!” she said, with wide-eyed enthusiasm. “I put the applesauce on it, and it’s really, really good.”

Dumas is covering World Meeting of Families for l’Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal, a Roman Catholic basilica, where she works for the communications office. The first thing she did after arriving on Wednesday was hop on a tour bus to get a feel for the city and take in the sights.

The horse and buggy carriages around Independence Mall made a big impression — and so did the many homeless people sleeping on park benches there. “I hope Pope Francis gets to meet some of those people.”

She was impressed with the growing tech community in Old City. “That neighborhood seems very branché,” she said, introducing this reporter to the French term that directly translates as “plugged-in” but in today’s slang means “trendy.”

Pulling out her map of Center City, Dumas asked for directions to a few famous landmarks (including Penn State, which she was disappointed to learn was only accessible via a 3.5-hour drive). She was upset at having missed a glimpse of the Rocky statue during her bus tour — “Oh, it’s not at the top of the steps?” — but was highly amused when she learned it was located right near where Pope Francis would be celebrating Mass.

“Who will be the real star there?” she joked. She imagined Rocky jogging alongside the pontiff, keeping up chatter like he does with Adrian during their first date at an ice skating rink.

“Know what I mean? Know what I mean?” Dumas said, jabbing her fists and affecting her best Philadelphia accent. “I think he and Rocky would get along just fine.”

Danya Henninger is director of Billy Penn at WHYY, where she oversees the team, all editorial decisions, and all revenue generation — including the...