I'm from New Jersey and Pork Roll Ice Cream Is an Abomination
And when one of our own fucks up, it's our job to tell them so.
Pork roll ice cream image via Windy Brow Farms Twitter
We New Jerseyans are a tough people. We listen as you jeer at us for our toll booths, and Snooki, and Chris Christie's summer vacations, while you get to enjoy all the wonderful things we have to offer—The Sopranos, Bruce Springsteen, terrifying highways. And while we're also a divisive people—some of us root for the Giants, others the Eagles—we know it's us against the rest of the world. No matter where geographically we live in our great state, we always go "down the shore." (We never go "up" there.) We defend our land to those who aren't from it, to those who will never understand—but we also, most importantly, hold ourselves accountable. We rib, we fight, and we admit we're wrong to one another's faces. So when one of our own fucks up, it's our job to tell them so: Like the NJ dairy farmers who have decided to make pork roll–flavored ice cream.
For those not familiar with this breakfast delicacy, first off, I'm sincerely sorry. It is the most perfect of meat options, yet somehow the most difficult to describe. It's a bit like ham that tastes a bit like bacon—or, according to USA Today, "a cross between Canadian bacon and bacon, less hammy and smoky than Canadian, fattier and saltier than bacon, with a unique texture, both crispy and slightly mushy." Like, I said... it's perfect on its own.
But now, apparently, Windy Brow Farms in Fredon Township has begun putting the meat into ice cream, the Associated Press reports. The dessert, allegedly, "mixes in French toast with actual pieces of pork roll." The reason for the French toast part of the concoction, if you're curious, is because Jake Hunt, Windy Brow's managing partner, said it would be "gross" otherwise. I understand wanting a balance of sweet and salty, but come on, bro. For starters, pork roll does not need anything else to improve it, especially something from France. If it does, you've already messed up. (Eater, with seemingly no evidence, has already called this "the ultimate New Jersey delicacy," and to that I say a resounding "fughettaboutit.")
I will go on the record: Pork roll does not belong in ice cream. It belongs sizzling in a frying pan, and then stuck between a roll with some cheesy eggs. It belongs on a sandwich resting under the heat lamps of the local WaWa, sitting there wrapped in tinfoil, as it has for hours, waiting to be grabbed on the way to school for $2.59. Hell, it even belongs on minor league baseball jerseys, and at its own festival. Pork roll deserves to be honored and held high. We have eaten it for centuries. It makes us—the proud citizens of the Garden State—who we are.
I must admit, I've not tried the Taylor Ham ice cream yet. I do not plan to, and if you do, I guarantee you it's going to be a mistake. And if I still haven't convinced you that all of this is a bad idea, consider one more thing: Pork roll is already a contentious enough issue. In 2016, for instance, 70,000 Jersey residents voted on whether or not it was called "pork roll" or "Taylor Ham," the meat's brand name. (That whole thing resulted in a heated regional debate that still exists today, but that's another story.) Let's not make the whole situation any worse than it has to be. There's absolutely no need to be putting this shit in ice cream.
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