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New Jersey’s Pork Roll-Taylor Ham Wars

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May 04, 2020

New Jerseyans are very proud of the things that are distinctly New Jersey, and there's an official state sandwich that's at the top of the list. In North Jersey, it's Taylor ham, egg, and cheese. In South Jersey it's pork roll, egg, and cheese. But these sandwiches are one and the same. People in the state just can't agree on what to call it. The feud over the name is over 150 years in the making.

So what is this food that's causing such uproar? It looks like a big salami. It’s hickory smoked and cured with sugar, and you cut slices and grill them, and when you add them to a sandwich, it's so good. And for years, there have been two festivals celebrating it, with the same name, on the same day, just half a mile apart.

We talk with a bunch of locals, a pork roll historian, and comedian Chris Gethard to find out why this food is so important to the people of New Jersey and why they can't stop fighting about it. Can The Sporkful unite warring factions and bring peace to the processed meat galaxy?

Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music:

- "Summer Of Our Lives" by Stephen Clinton Sullivan

- "Steady" by Cullen Fitzpatrick

- "Mellophone" by JT Bates

- "Birthday Party" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt

- "New Old" by JT Bates

Photo courtesy of Facebook/Pork Roll; Dan Pashman.

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