Foods I Get From New Jersey aka You Can’t Get That Here

Part of my food haul from my trip to New Jersey last summer. Hot sauces, etc included because they got picked up at Peppers store in Deleware during the trip home.

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.

Picked up this Taylor Ham, egg and cheese sandwich with ketchup from a deli during my trip to New Jersey in 2011.

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!



6 comments on “Foods I Get From New Jersey aka You Can’t Get That Here

  1. I am from NJ and can honestly say; living in Va. is depressing for the lack of pork roll! #missingit

    • Not sure where you are, or how far you travel, but I sometimes pick mine up on the way back from NJ in Lewes, DE. Not sure how many other places in DE might carry it, but it does cross state lines.

  2. Paul you left out Tastykake Butterscotch Krumpets we can get them from time to time at Publix. — Boylan’s Birch Beer is now distributed in Florida– Entenmann’s has a bakery in Miami – Mary’s brother Joe moved from LI in 1975 to get the plant engineered and operating. The company has been sold many times Joe changed jobs in 1985 and left them. They are now owned by Bimbo’s a large Mexican company and now the largest bakery distributor in the US. do a search and see all the brands they control. — Taylor’s ham we only buy the small 8 slice box because I would eat too much if we bought the roll. — Bagels it took over 20 years but some places in south Florida finally learned the secret of NY bagels. There are several places in Fort Myers. I remember Mary making me a couple of bagel sandwiches to take to work about 24 years ago (we had bought some when we visited in Hollywood FL) one of the guys at the office had never seen or tasted a bagel.

    • I’m not much on the Tastykake brand in general, nothing wrong with it, just wasn’t my personal addiction. I was more of a Hostess and Drake’s snack guy.

      When I buy the rolls of Taylor Ham I try to stretch them out, freeze several, and open one, which is usually good for 2-3 meals.

  3. Jersey is the land of a thousand diners. I miss a good Veal Parmigiana and spaghetti. I haven’t seen a place here with a good hoagie. Subway has horrible bread. The soft water down here makes for bad breads and rolls. These dirt thru places are not Wawas because Amoroso bakeries doesn’t deliver this far south.

    • Diners are definitely missed too, though it’s hard to get the family to toss on in the back of the car and drag it down here. And for whatever reason, I was never a Wawa guy.

      One other thing I still miss is the style of Chocolate Chip Muffin that Dunkin Donuts used to serve. They put sugar crystals on the top, heated with some melted butter when I bought it. I think Dunkin just makes them different now because I’ve been to Dunkin and found chocolate chip muffins, just not the same style any more.

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