Summer is road-trip season, so we're taking a culinary tour of America. But because Portland is a city of immigrants from other states, we don't have to leave town to do it. We're traveling to 50 Portland restaurants to try one distinctive food from each state. Our 50 Plates tour continues with Taylor Ham on a hard roll from New Jersey, which joined the union on December 18, 1787.
The state: New Jersey, the Garden State, more recently famous for its Snookis. New Jersey is most oft depicted as the home to gabagool and guidos, but NJ natives lobbied hard for the inclusion of Taylor Ham instead. We’re thankful they did.
The food: The “Pork Roll,” a breakfast sandwich made with Taylor Ham. Taylor ham is a processed pork product called a “roll” because a federal law passed the year Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle was published stopped Taylor from selling it as “ham.” That pork roll is pan-fried, put onto a hard roll with egg and cheese, then garnished with ketchup and mustard.
Other dishes considered and rejected: Gabagool sandwich, spaghetti and meatballs, a slightly lesser version of New York pizza, ‘ripper’ style hot dogs, Jersey breakfast dogs, Italian hot dogs, bubblegum-flavored salt water taffy.
Click on the map to see each state's distinctive food and where to get it in Portland.