Like it or not, MTV’s new reality train wreck Jersey Shore has vaulted that curious species, the self-identified “Guido” into the public consciousness, much to the dismay of New Jerseyans, Italian-Americans and anyone with an IQ above 78. I know…you thought these Guidos and “Guidettes” were just another figment of the New Jersey imagination like the Jersey Devil and affordable real estate. As much as I would like to pretend idiots like this don’t exist, I’m afraid that anyone who has spent significant time in the Garden State — including natives like gansie and myself — has some across an example of the species, typically traveling in a pack. And now they are beamed right to your home by the magic of television. Consider it payback for the state providing you with a setting for the best show of the past ten years, The Sopranos. Gotta pay the piper sooner or later.
This joyous television experience got us thinking, though: Man does not live on soy protein, Axe Body Spray and Miller Lite alone. The Jersey shore offers a cornucopia of wonderful, horrible and wonderfully-horrible food products that will hopefully all make cameos during the season. Let this handy list of the Top 10 Jersey Shore Foods be your guide to understanding the culinary choices available to the cast.
Pizza is a staple of Jersey boardwalk fare, and Ocean City’s Mack & Manco is the best on the promenade. This is a decidedly NYC-style pie — the big floppy kind that you can fold in half and chow down on while you walk. Unlike the trash that drifts down to Jersey to participate on the show, this is one NYC import we can all enjoy. (Photo: Infinite Jeff)
9. Dippin’ Dots
The future of ice cream! Or so they’ve been telling us for the past twenty five years. At what point will the future actually get here so I can throw out my Ben & Jerry’s? These ice-cold globules used to be a “special occasion” item that you would see for sale at the shore. These days, I can buy them from a machine at the mall. Kinda takes the charm out of it. (Photo: newwavegurly)
8. Salt Water Taffy
All the nutritional value of a conversation with Mike “The Situation,” these chewy treats are the bane of brace-wearing children everywhere. Each box always includes some bullshit story about how the taffy was invented when candy fell into seawater, but you’re mostly just interested in getting the good flavors and shafting your siblings with the banana and licorice. Corn syrup + artificial flavoring = awesome. (Photo: Live?Laugh?Love)
7. Boardwalk Fries
These things are so good that they made a mediocre fast food franchise out of them! The signs that say the fries are cooked in “100% peanut oil” were tantalizingly exotic to a third grader in the 1980s (yeah, my horizons have expanded since then), and the fact that they sliced the potatoes on premises made it even more fun. The medium-cut sticks are great for the most part — the fries that you get from the center of the potatoes are long and perfectly cooked — but the unfortunate slices that are nicked off the edges invariably lead to a pile of deep-fried potato skins in the bottom of your paper cup. Bummer. (Photo: roboppy)
6. Binge Drinking
Sure, it’s not technically a food item, but it does account for approximately 56% of the total calories consumed at the Jersey shore. In fact, I think that national Beer Pong Championships are held in Wildwood Crest. (Photo: C o l i n)