New Jersey’s most popular food is unknown in the rest of the US
It's probably a pretty safe bet that you don't know what a Runza is. Well, it's the most popular food in Nebraska and a fast-food restaurant out there too. It's a mix of beef, cabbage onions, sauerkraut and seasonings on some kind of roll. It's similar to a bierocks,(yeah, I've never heard of that either) which is the number one food in Kansas. Some of the foods across this great country that are most popular in some states are completely foreign in others.
I tell people all the time that all 'Italian' food is not universally known in Italy. The cuisine there is very regional as I've found out from my family there. Some of the stuff we call "Italian" they've never eaten. So, in a country as big as ours it should come as no surprise that the food is often very regional also. Even in our own state, some foods that are really popular in one corner of New Jersey may not be in another. That certainly is true when it comes to what we call things.
Take for instance our most popular food, (drumroll please...) Pork Roll, egg and cheese on a roll! I never had it as a kid growing up in South Jersey and absolutely didn't know there was a disagreement over what to call it. Taylor ham or pork roll. Who, what, wuh!? It says right on the box Taylor Pork Roll! There was another company that made it in Trenton and someplace else? OK, so what? We call tissues Kleenex. It says right on the box, Kleenex tissues. We call bandages Band-Aids. They're Band-Aid bandages. Please stop with the silly very regional disagreement, and stuff another pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich in your mouth and enjoy it! In Minnesota I'm sure they're not arguing over what to call the 'Juicy Lucy', which is their favorite.
Who knew that toasted ravioli would win top honors in Missouri? Just be thankful that we have an abundance of different varieties of food here that we don't have to nominate huckleberries as our number one food, like they did in Montana!
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis's own.