Thursday, July 23, 2009

More Musings on Taylor Ham

I was emailing with a friend earlier today and decided, as it touched on one of my favorite foods which I have talked about here in the past, that I would flesh it out a bit and turn it into a post. We all know that these days I am so totally fixed on things I can't eat. Below is a picture of this food in one of it's many forms:

Warning: I tend to ramble on and on during this post. Continue at your own peril.

I grew up eating a New Jersey food called Taylor Ham. We had it for breakfast in any way you would expect bacon or sausage to be used. Sometimes with bacon or sausage in fact! It's definitely a Jersey thing and I've been eating it for most of my life, though admittedly a lot less since we came to Michigan since you can't get it here.

Shortly after we moved to Michigan in August of 2000 I tried with the local grocer, and Meijer which is a big chain of stores asking them to carry it, but, they ain't never heard of it so they had no interest in doing it. In retrospect almost 9 years later that's probably a good thing.

One of my fondest Taylor Ham moments back in New Jersey was having breakfast at a buffet that a friend used to be the chef for. They had Taylor Ham and not many buffets in New Jersey ever did! Oh my goodness I was in heaven. They also had home-made sausage gravy and biscuits! When he knew I was coming he would cook extra Taylor Ham and slice it thick and thin because he knew the various ways I would eat it and combine it with the other buffet items. I would eat way, way too much of this epicurean delight those Sunday Mornings!

On one of my Taylor Ham running trips back from a visit to friends and family on the east coast, I brought back a large quantity as described below, and I had a series of lunch time events where I invited about 6 people from work to come to my place for lunch, and I made Taylor Ham, Egg, and Cheese sandwiches on a hard roll. The egg and cheese were optional, but, you had to eat the Taylor Ham. So, I turned on about 18 mid-westerners to this delectable treat and they all loved it! I think if Meijer had stocked this, and fried some up and given it out as samples as they often do with new items, they could have made a killing. Their loss!

For those of you reading this that are not in the New Jersey area and want to try Taylor Ham, fear not! If you look on the right side of my blog I have a link to Jersey Pork Roll, a web site run by a Jersey Girl where I used to have Taylor Ham shipped to Michigan from. I even bought a slicer so I could buy the 9 pound one and slice it up! Their service is excellent and I can recommend it personally.

As mentioned previously my consumption has dropped since moving to Michigan. This is not a bad thing considering my Lifestyle Modification. I have not had Taylor Ham since last summer when I went to Jersey for my Dad's funeral.

I won't be having it in the near future either! With my caloric guidelines I could get away with it on a Sunday or even thinly sliced as a dinner meal during the week with some Eggbeaters. But I would not be able to consume enough of it to make the high price of shipping out here worthwhile. Plus, it's one of those rare things I have little willpower with. If it's in da house, I'm eating it!

Willpower is a funny thing! There are so many delectable things I see at the store while shopping. Things that I used to enjoy on a regular basis. Things I miss. Things I want. Things that if they were in my home, I know I would eat them! So, I simply do not buy them. Weird huh? I never bring them home, so they do not tempt me here, but I know if they were here I would not resist their siren call!

Back to the subject of willpower. Perhaps the thoughts of myself falling on top of 20 bags of chips at the store in a veritable feeding frenzy, followed by the panicked screams of children, large muscled security people beating me as they eject me from the store, and the inevitable blitz of media coverage is what keeps me in check while I am out in public. I do not know for sure.

In subsequent trips back to NJ (except for last year) I would take a cooler with me. My brother and I would hit the Pathmark and ShopRite stores by him and I would buy up to 15 3 pound Taylor Hams. We would put them in the freezer for a couple of days before departing back to Michigan, then put them in the cooler and cover them with ice. Of course I would by more than 15! We would have to consume some! Pretty much every morning my brother and I would start the day with Taylor Ham, Egg, and Cheese on a multi-grain English muffin. One summer, we invented the Taylor Hamburger. This was a 1/4 pound burger, which then had a cooked thick slice of Taylor Ham placed atop it, and this was then covered with cheese! Delicious! And of course oh so bad for you!

Anyway, when running Taylor Ham back from NJ to MI, they made the 11.5 hour trip back to Michigan where they were then consumer over the year. SO MUCH cheaper than having it shipped! And of course the slicer worked fine on the 3 pound ones as well. Thin sliced or thick, depending on the way it is being served. Back in 2006 I even made Mac Cheese with diced grilled Taylor Ham in it. So, so, good!

Whenever family was coming to visit from New Jersey, or whenever the X's folks (after they moved to Michigan) were going back east, I'd beg them to bring Taylor Ham for me with them. To heck with Pride, Taylor Ham is just that good! It's been a life long affair and one I hope to continue down the road but less aggressively.

I am sure I will be at a point in time where I can enjoy some of my favorite guilty pleasures, such as White Castle cheeseburgers (or rats as we called them) and Taylor Ham, served any way you can think of!


Kate said...

Hey Chris! I wish I had willpower. Best wishes on the healthy new lifestyle even though it means pork roll is a no no :)


Chris said...

Kate; it's a no-no for now, but down the road I'll be eating it again, just not is as vast amounts as I used to. To go the rest of my born and raised in New Jersey life without ever being able to enjoy this delicacy again is just not possible!

I've lost 77 pounds on 105 days through diet and exercise.....I must admit though a nice thick Taylor Ham, Egg, and Cheese sandwich would go really, really good right now!

Take care!

PhotoGeek said...

You know, outside of Jersey, people in NY still have no idea what Taylor Ham is... well since I can't get it (otherwise I'd scarf it down), it's a blessing to me!

Enjoy it when you can for a treat... you deserve it!

Chris said...

PhotoGeek - NY eh? Time to make a run for the border and get Taylor Ham, particularly if you have never had it before!

One of these days I will be enjoying it again.....just not today!