When I wrote about the New Jersey pork roll in our Try This feature last week, I had a feeling there were many Times readers out there who love it as much as I do. Since then, I have received a lot of emails filled with adoration for and memories of this Jersey meat delicacy. Here are a few of them, complete with other places to find pork roll in Tampa Bay.
Brittany Volk, Times staff writer
Your column about Taylor Pork Roll brought back a lot of memories. When I was a young lad in Philadelphia, Taylor Pork Roll was a regular "special treat" on our dinner table. My best memories, however, were from the Jersey Shore. Both Ocean City and Wildwood have Taylor "restaurants" on the boardwalks, pine paneled with dozens of display rolls of pork roll hanging around the room and the delicious smell (of) pork roll grilling over an open fire wafting out to draw in customers. The slices of pork roll were snapped into metal holders that kept them flat, then set into a conveyer chain that both rotated them and moved them along over the open flames. At the end, an attendant removed the holder from the chain, opened the holder and put the perfectly grilled slice of pork roll onto a fresh bun. You could then choose your condiments; I always went with mustard.
A little tip: Check the deli meat case. Our Publix sells Taylor's in the original cloth wrapped roll, sliced to order. You can get it as thick or as thin as you like, and buy as much or as little as you like.
Can we now look forward to a future column about Habbersett Scrapple (available frozen at Publix)? My wife has a T-shirt that reads "You might be from Philadelphia if you know what's in scrapple but you love it anyway."
Fletch and Carole Chambers, Hudson
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I was pleased to see your article on Taylor Pork Roll. I grew up on Long Island and my family always had Taylor Ham in the house. We made egg, cheese and Taylor Ham sandwiches as you describe, but it was always on a New York-style hard roll. Those were much better than the kaiser rolls we get here in Florida. If you know of a place to get true New York hard rolls please let me know. I have been looking for 15 years and cannot find them in Florida.
Fortunately, our local Publix carries the Taylor Ham as does our local bagel shop that is owned by a New Jersey transplant. Miss those New York hard rolls, though.
Barry Kreiling, Brooksville
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I read with delight your article on Taylor Ham. It's a treat that has been enjoyed for all of my 76 years. In case you become addicted, you can buy the stuff at the Publix in Seminole. You can buy the whole roll for $35 or they will slice by the pound for about $10. The stuff in the package does not compare. It needs to be sliced a little thicker.
My grandchildren love it so I am one of those people who schleps the roll in my suitcase to North Carolina where they (have) never heard of it. Thanks for your great article. I never knew the origin of the product.
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I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading your article about Taylor Ham. I grew up in Woodhaven, Queens, N.Y., and it was my lunch of choice. I attended a small Lutheran school that did not have a cafeteria, so we had to bring a lunch every day and Taylor Ham was in my lunch bag almost every day.
I am old enough to remember the Taylor Pork Roll booth at the 1964 World's Fair in New York where I headed every time I was at the fair.
I, too, was thrilled to find that familiar package at Publix. I enjoy it with bread, butter and pickles.
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Our family diner in St. Petersburg has pork roll on our menu. We serve it for breakfast with eggs, potatoes and toast or on a hoagie or kaiser with egg and cheese. For lunch we serve it with fries or onion rings. Come visit Darrell & Sharon's Park Street Diner, 4131 Park St., St. Petersburg, anytime!
Sharon DiGrazia, St. Petersburg
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Your pop's words were right on the money. I don't know where your dad's family is from in New Jersey, but I am from Trenton (Mercer County) where there is a ongoing battle about pork roll. Taylor's is the original, but Case has it beat with most people in the county and the Jersey boardwalk. They are both made in Trenton, but most stores carry Case pork roll. The pork roll festival serves nothing but Case.
Anyway, the next thing we can talk about: Is it called macaroni and gravy or pasta and sauce? Any true Italian knows it's macs and gravy!
Jim "Mooch" Mucciarelli
Keep telling me how you (pork) roll. Email me at [email protected] Follow @bevolk.