Amongst the collectibles we are selling is this Taylor’s Ham Commemorative Sewing Thimble, for the 100th anniversary 1856-1956.
..and what, pray tell, is Taylor Ham? Well, it’s sorta ham since it is really a chopped pork roll, but traditional Jerseyites still call it Taylor Ham, after its creator.
I learned this the hard way while visiting friends this summer in New Jersey, apparently THE hot state sourcing this favorite breakfast meat! I had decided to have a hearty breakfast at the train station waiting for friends to pick me up and wanted a ham and egg sandwich. Seeing “Taylor ham” listed on the menu, I asked what kind of ham Taylor made and a received laughter from the waitress accompanied by a “you aren’t from around here, are you?”
|Mr. John Taylor, culinary genius|
This quasi-ham breakfast meat was developed in, yes, New Jersey, by John Taylor in 1856 as a secret recipe.
Taylor’s offering was called “Taylor’s Prepare Ham” but the Pure Food & Drug Act of 1906 decided that his product did not meet the legal definition of ham and he had to call it a “pork roll”. According to Wikipedia, in 1910 it was described as "a food article made of pork, packed in a cylindrical cotton sack or bag in such form that it could be quickly prepared for cooking by slicing without removal from the bag.”
|How you buy your Taylor Ham|
Nowadays, this chopped-up SPAM-like substance is sold in unsliced rolls in up to 3 pound bags or smaller pre-sliced containers.
My waitress suggested I eat “the classic”….a pork roll (aka Taylor ham), cheese and egg sandwich on a roll …ALWAYS a roll! ( My request for whole wheat bread was met with disdain). It is such a classic breakfast sandwich in New Jersey that if you order a “Jersey breakfast”, this is what you get!
|The All-American New Jersey Breakfast of Champions!|
It is made always the traditional way: sliced and either grilled or fried and served in several huge slabs on a roll with the requisite egg and American cheese.
|make cuts to keep the slices from curling up|
Apparently the trick is to make a few little cuts around the edges so it doesn’t curl up when frying.
Why a sewing thimble was the chosen item to commemorate this culinary wonder is beyond me!
Excuse me while I check my cholesterol.