Pork roll vs. Taylor Ham: Help decide the official NJ sandwich
One of the most popular and ridiculous New Jersey debates is once again front and center as a New Jersey lawmaker decides which term — pork roll or Taylor Ham — should be used if and when an official state sandwich is determined.
Two separate bills have been drafted by Democratic Assemblyman Tim Eustace — one awarding the title of official state sandwich to pork roll, egg and cheese, and another designating Taylor Ham, egg and cheese as the proper name.
Which name moves forward may depend on New Jersey residents. Eustace has an online survey devoted to the issue.
"We get, I would say, two to three calls still every week asking which (term) is correct," said Kate Kelly, owner of JerseyPorkRoll.com. "Usually it's to settle a bet."
And the debate, she said, can get quite heated on social media and in the comment section of articles just like this one.
"The name-calling and the behavior is so unbelievable online," said Kelly, who's been in the business for 12 years. "It's something that will always amaze me."
The processed meat that's synonymous with the Garden State was created in Trenton by politician and businessman John Taylor in 1856, promoted as "Taylor's Prepared Ham." It was decided in the early 20th century that the product no longer met the definition of "ham" and the name was changed.
Scott Miller, chairman of the Pork Roll Festival, which is scheduled for its third run at Mill Hill Park in Trenton on May 28, is ecstatic about the attention surrounding this Jersey staple, but he claims there's no need for a debate.
"Taylor is obviously a brand and the product is pork roll," he said. "The product is still pork roll whether it's made by Taylor or Case or a number of other manufacturers."
According to Miller, New Jerseyans have the right to call the product whatever they'd like, but when it comes to an official declaration, it's "pork roll for sure."
A designated spokesperson for Taylor Provisions, the manufacturer of Taylor Pork Roll, was unavailable for comment on Monday.