(First in a series, presented as a public service by Boo-Hooray).
John Taylor of Trenton first developed his pork roll product in 1856; the Taylor Provision Co. and several other New Jersey manufacturers continue to make it to this day. New Jersey specifically, for until the Internet the only place you could find Taylor Ham was New Jersey (though there are now a few restaurants in New York and Brooklyn whose hepcats are hep to pork roll). Any other place save eastern Pennsylvania? Good luck.
While pork roll is delicious sliced, fried, or grilled (four small slices on the quarter hour of each slice added to prevent curling), the epitome of Taylor Ham goodness is found in what is known as The Jersey Breakfast: a standard hard roll (softer, if the teeth have trouble with golden, crunchy crusts) with an over-easy egg, a slice of American cheese (Kraft, preferable to Velveeta — the latter flows as easily as ripe brie, but not to the same effect), and however many slices of Taylor Ham as desired.
This makes for what experts agree is the most sublime expression of the American Breakfast Sandwich. Unlike canned meat products, Taylor Ham’s saltiness is less, and the taste reminds one more of fine Amish bologna, than some of the more unsettling possibilities at the deli counter.
If you’re passing through New Jersey, stop to have breakfast, at whatever time of day. (If you’re passing through Hackensack, stop at White Manna, who make a mean Jersey Breakfast sandwich. Also, some of the greatest slider-esque burgers in the U.S.).