Monday, May 31, 2010

Jersey Regional Food Traditions

The food we eat defines us. In, New Jersey, we already have access to some of the best food in the world due to our diverse demographics. Our pizza & bagels are top notch and our ethnic foods are far reaching. However, there are some areas of NJ where the locals swear by a certain food. In Mounmouth County, it's Windmill Hot Dogs, but next door in Mercer, people barely have heard of them. This lead me to come up with a small map showcasing a local area's culinary chains. I've got 5 so far; what would you add to the list?

In the Trenton area, (besides Pork Roll which we've pointed out enough times), DeLorenzo's Tomatoe Pies, are a tradition.

In Monmouth County (and one in Westfield), you have the aforementioned, Windmill Hot Dogs.

In the River towns along Burlington County, you have Boost! Cola, which is like catnip to young residents there.

In Ocean & Monmouth counties, it's Surf Taco (thanks to John and Lisa for the rec).

And it may be a stretch, but if you went to Rutgers, Grease Trucks, are part of your vocabulary.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Even the Media knows it's an East-West line

New Jersey's hot right now. So hot, we'll be boasting five reality TV shows come summer (take that California and New York). The New York Times even had a recent article on this entitled, "Going to New Jersey to find America."

But when looking at the locations of these reality TV shows - seeing a divide is obvious. Let's call it, "The Media Divide."

In, New Jersey: the Movie, we theorized the cultural dividing line in the state wasn't North or South, but East and West. We drew the line, but also mentioned the historic Keith and Lawrence lines. If you look at a map of the Lawrence Line (giving East Jersey the least amount of land) and where the reality shows are located; they all fall into old East Jersey:

You could argue that this is merely a product of East Jersey's population being much larger. You could say that East Jersey just has more Italian-Americans, which all five shows focus on. And having the Zeitgeist of "Mayberry" with the voltage and excitement of New York City doesn't hurt either.

But as a half-Italian kid growing up on the west side of this line; I always wondered why big media never focused on us. Even looking at fictional shows like, The Sopranos, and oft-forgotten, That's Life and movies like Date Night and Kevin Smith's Jersey trilogy, East Jersey OWNS NJ's media portrayal to America and they always have.

And outside of films focusing on Princeton University, all the West seems to have is Boardwalk Empire - which will most likely have its fair share of New Yorkers anyway.

West Jersey people would most likely say that they would never parade their lives on camera for lowbrow television. Maybe it's the Quaker values . . .

But it begs a question:

Are people in East Jersey just more interesting?

If you had an idea for a West Jersey reality show - what would it be?