In case you didn’t know, I’m a New Jersey native now living in eastern North Carolina. While I am quite at home here, some food items from New Jersey just can’t be bought in the stores here. While I could probably mail order many of these things, shipping can be high, and so I generally just wait until I’m in New Jersey, or my family is coming here to do a little stocking up. Here are things things I usually request when my family is coming to visit.
1) Taylor Ham aka Taylor Pork Roll. This deli product is a denser, spicier version of bologna, and is almost always cooked before eating on a sandwich. Taylor Ham, egg and cheese on a hard roll is a classic breakfast where I grew up. I try to get 3 or 4 one pound logs of this when I can. It never lasts until my next visit, but it’s nice to pull a little bit of home out of the freezer once in a while.
2) Drake’s Funny Bones. A snake cake with chocolate cake, chocolate coating and peanut butter filling. Lovely lunchtime dessert. I usually get 3 or 4 boxes of these and stick them in the freezer. Not sure why though, because they only last a week or two.
3)Entenmann’s Crumb Cake. For a short while I was able to get this here, but while the supermarkets carry some Entenmann’s products, it is mainly their donuts, and only rarely their cake products. These are best fresh, so I usually grab only 1 or 2 when I get the opportunity. This is a product that reminds me of my dad. I eat it with some butter on it the same way he used to.
4) Bagels. Ok, I can get bagels here in the supermarket, or on occasion the bagel place in Greenville when we go there, but even the Greenville shop isn’t quite the same as bagels from the New York City area, so I get a dozen or so just to remind what the good stuff tastes like.
These next 3 items I no longer get from NJ for various reasons:
5) Drake’s Swiss Rolls. These are different from the Little Debbie’s Swiss Rolls. They’re larger and do not come coated in chocolate. Unfortunately, they are no longer made, so I could not get them even though I would love to get some again.
6) Farina. Similar to Cream of Wheat (perhaps identical and I’m just a brand whore); the wheat version of grits. Love to make these for breakfast. I used to have to get them in NJ, but in recent years I’ve been able to get them in NC supermarkets.
7) Pastina. A tiny star shapped pasta. These are one of my comfort foods when I’m sick. I just boil two or three cups of water, add some chicken boullone cubes, once it is boiling add about 1/2 cup of pastina. It only takes a few minutes for the tiny stars to cook. Serve with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and you’ve got a great lunch for when you don’t feel well. I’ve also been known to make this when I’m feeling fine, just because it reminds me of home I guess. This is another item I’ve been able to pick up around here in recent years.
While I love some North Carolina staples like barbecue, I still like getting the occasional taste of my home state, or at least some foods that I associate with my home state. Is there a food you like to get from far away that you eat very infrequently, or perhaps only when you go home, or on vacation? Leave a comment below!
Peace, Love, and Bacon Grease!