It wasn’t until I left home and moved into college that I understood Bruce Springsteen. Growing up in Jersey, all I ever heard was, “Springsteen, Springsteen, Springsteen.” I just never got it. I didn’t know any one named “Jack the Rabbit” or “Weak Knee Willie.” I never saw people “wielding guitars just like switchblades.” It all seemed so unreal. Then I got to Ithaca and started to miss the view of smokestacks and the meadowlands from the Pulaski Skyway. I watched Chris Christie’s strange popularity loudly, and publicly combust. I started arguing with people from school the existence (or lack thereof) of central Jersey – which assuredly doesn’t exist. But what I didn’t realize was so inseparably Jersey from Bruce was his longing to get out and his inability to leave.
If you ever meet someone from Jersey, they will quickly make fun of this wacko state. But if you make fun of it, you’ll quickly receive a geography lesson on how New Jersey has rich agriculture, a bustling working class and, admittedly, a large amount of Wall Street goons. I’ll certainly never forget a night with two friends from California putting Jersey in head-to-head match-ups with other states to see where it ranked. I was sure it would make the top ten, but surely enough, it was smack in the middle – 25.
I’ve always believed that Jersey is an amalgamation of all of America’s regions. New Jersey is America’s most densely populated state with 1,210 persons per square mile. We have wide-open rural farm lands, stirring urban centers, dainty small-towns, bourgeois suburbs, you name it. We may be small, we may be mediocre, and we may be a mess, but I’ll be damned if we’re not unique.
Much like Bruce, after spending some time in Los Angeles and realizing it just doesn’t quite do it like back east, I’ve decided to try and figure out what about Jersey makes it so hard to stay, and so impossible to leave. And what better way to do it than through the *in Bruce Springsteen voice* artery-cloggin’, bad taste-sloggin’, gross-food-bloggin’, Jordan Eats Things™. That’s right. Get ready for Jordan Eats Jersey.
My next few posts will regard some foods from the home state. It’ll be something different. A little less sugary. Hopefully, a bit funnier than this post.
Please feel free to leave places you want to see covered in the comments. Also feel free to argue about central Jersey. It’s okay to be wrong.