Despite nearing the end of his presidency, Barack Obama has managed to get a lot done in the past year. Earlier this year, he reached a controversial deal with Iran over the country's nuclear program, and in March, after lifting longstanding sanctions on Cuba, he became the first president to travel to Havana in nearly 90 years. Still, past accomplishments notwithstanding, there’s one controversy the president doesn’t feel he can untangle: what to call New Jersey’s iconic breakfast meat. Is it a pork roll, or Taylor ham?
“I come here for a simple reason, to finally settle this pork roll versus Taylor ham question," Obama said during his commencement speech at Rutgers University on Sunday. "I'm just kidding. There's not much I'm afraid to take on in my final year of office, but I know better than to get in the middle of that debate."
The president also gave a shout-out to Jersey’s signature “fat sandwiches” ("Mozzarella sticks and chicken fingers on your cheesesteaks,” he said. “I am sure Michelle would approve.”), but the pork roll-Taylor ham debate has been a hot button issue in the Garden State recently.
New Jersey is currently in the process of adopting an official state sandwich—either a Taylor Ham, egg and cheese; or a pork roll, egg and cheese. According to NJ.com, the feud goes all the way back to the 1800s when Taylor Provisions Co. and Case Pork Roll Co. began selling competing cured meats across town. But in April, Assemblyman Tim Eustace introduced two different bills—as well as an online survey to poll residents opinions—in order to settle the debate once and for all.
“Is it Pork Roll Egg & Cheese or Taylor Ham Egg & Cheese!!!” the survey reads. “Let us know your choice. THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!!!”
Clearly, tensions are running high.