When The Wife’s Away…


…I eat like a six year old.  Yep, those are tater-tots.

Hey, I didn’t feel like cooking and I had a rather large burrito for lunch so I wasn’t in the mood for a multi-course meal.  But I do have a point beyond inviting you to laugh at my culinary transgression.

The more interesting item in the back is a fried egg sandwich that contains a special ingredient — an impulse buy during my last trip to the grocery store.  That slice of porky goodness is the pride of Trenton, New Jersey…Taylor’s Pork Roll.
Can you guys even get this stuff?  I’m not even sure.  I can’t remember if I’ve ever seen it on menus outside of the Garden State.  The pork roll page on Wikipedia seems to indicate that it’s a local delicacy:

Pork roll is a type of sausage-like meat product commonly available in and around New Jersey. In North Jersey it is usually called Taylor Ham. The product was originally developed late in the 19th century by John Taylor of Trenton, New Jersey, though several firms produce it today.

Although the product is widely consumed and enjoyed, it resists accurate description. Some people compare the taste and/or texture to SPAM, Treet, baloney, mild salami, or US-style Canadian bacon.

The description mentions the fact that a couple of manufacturers make it.  I can’t remember what brand my mother used to make for us, but the Taylor version is sliced much thicker and therefore works significantly better on sandwiches.  I know she used to cut notches in the thinner type to keep the slice from curling up on her.  I’m not sure if that’s necessary with the thicker-cut Taylor brand, but I still cut it out of habit.

How does it taste?  I think they hit the nail on the head back in 1910 when they said it was, “a food article made of pork, packed in a cylindrical cotton sack or bag.”  In other words, “delicious.”

How much of a Trenton institution is pork roll?  The Trenton Thunder, the Double A affiliate of the New York Yankees have a concession stand down the first base line that features pork roll sandwiches.  With New Jersey-brewed beers like River Horse and Flying Fish on tap, I’ve spent quite a few evenings at the ballpark enjoying a good pork roll sandwich, a great beer and a chance to experience the early careers of future big league All-Stars like Robinson Cano , Dioner Navarro and Ryan Howard.  Good times.

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  • Maids March 19, 2009  

    I’ve always wondered how one goes about making tater tots. They are delicious, but really I’ve never had them homemade. I suppose the recipe would be rather like that for potato latke rolled into a cylinder and deepfried?

  • TVFF March 19, 2009  

    In the TVFF home, the recipe is simple. Take out of freezer. Turn on toaster oven. I think you see where this is going…

  • Maids March 19, 2009  


  • JoeHoya March 19, 2009  

    Despite enjoying pork roll in Jersey for more than two decades, I never bothered to learn why we also called it ‘taylor ham.’

    Thanks so much for clearing that up!

    I can say with certainty that it’s almost impossible to get taylor ham here in DC. In fact, my aunt owns a deli in Jersey and I’ve been begging her to ship some down to me.

    Yup…my high cholesterol is completely hereditary.

  • Jessica March 20, 2009  

    I also picked up some Taylor ham on a whim at the grocery store recently (God bless the Ballston Harris Teeter). I want to cook it, but I feel like I need to find the perfect hard roll first.

  • Oxen Cox March 20, 2009  

    Bless you and your delicious sandwich. I love Taylor Ham, I once participated in a pork roll sandwich eating contest. Everyone in it left a winner.

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