PORK ROLL, LENT, AND CATHOLIC IDENTITY

First Things | 11/3/2016 | George Weigel
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A few weeks before Ash Wednesday, an Associated Press squib with Lenten implications appeared in the Washington Post sports section:

YANKEES: New York’s Class AA affiliate in Trenton, N.J., will change its name from the Thunder to the Pork Roll on Fridays this season. The pork roll is a New Jersey staple, served on breakfast sandwiches and as a burger topping.

Unfortunates - I-95 - Corridor - Holland - Tunnel

For those unfortunates who didn’t grow up in the I-95 corridor between the Holland Tunnel and the southern outskirts of Baltimore, I venture to explain.

“Taylor Pork Roll,” also known as “Taylor Ham” south and west of the Delaware River, is a compound of the ground-up and sugar-cured bits of a pig of which the pig has no cause to be proud, tightly encased in a canvas wrapper. Fried or grilled, it’s salty and greasy and a lot of other wonderful things frowned on by the food police. In my wild adolescence, I used to cut a half-inch slab off the loaf, impale it on a fork, and roast it over an electronic burner in my parents’ kitchen: the ideal post-school snack before wrestling with Cicero’s Latin syntax and the mysteries of Algebra II. I still indulge in it occasionally, to my wife’s olfactory displeasure, and I always order it in a diner when breakfasting in the Garden State.

Yankees— - Yanqui - Enemy - Mankind - Sandinista

But only the perfidious Yankees—“the Yanqui enemy of mankind,” as the Sandinista national anthem in 1980s Nicaragua neatly put it—would have a farm team that changed its name to “Trenton Pork Roll” on Fridays.

Ad primum, pork roll was always consumed as a post-Mass treat on Sundays, and rigorously avoided on Fridays. Ad secundum, flaunting pork roll in the face of devout Catholics by emblazoning it on jerseys at Arm & Hammer Park on Fridays is an invitation to the divine wrath, to which the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: First Things
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