Perhaps one of the reasons you find those who say they’re never going back to New Jersey may have to do with an abundance of guilty pleasures that are not necessarily good for you. Among them is probably what is known as the original junk food: the hot dog which is best represented at a nonpretentious hot dog stand in Clifton, New Jersey known as Rutt’s Hut. Those that have left New Jersey have perhaps moved on to other, perhaps greener pasteurs where the food trends tend to be healthier.
New Jersey, seemingly, is caught in a time warp. You still have Jersey shore amusements that go back to a more innocent time in the 1950s. Perhaps they are rough on the edges but they still stand as a nod to the past and nothing pointing towards the future. Then, there is Atlantic City – the largest city and resort on the Jersey shore. Although it attracts tourists who come to gamble at its many casinos, there are still structures from its historic past when it was a thriving boardwalk with amusement rides and all sorts of entertainment. Despite its big draw on gamblers, Atlantic City is not necessarily something that a New Jersey native can really be proud of if vice is what’s attracted visitors. Time has stood still along the Jersey shore to an earlier America. However, it is a monument to America’s still craving nature for junk food. Perhaps this is why hot dog sales do so well all across the continent and not just New Jersey.
New Jersey probably represents the things we crave but never want to admit to. We often hear that we should never eat hot dogs because they aren’t healthy for you and a host of other reasons. If that is the case, why do they continue to sell big in ball parks. Next to hamburgers, they are the food that children crave, and are cooked alongside on grills during July 4th picnics. New Jersey is not the only place where the hot dog takes a stand (no pun) and is proud of being there. Other places, such as Chicago where the hot dog is very famous, still attract crowds who want nothing more than a hot dog they can eat without guilt. Hot dog stands, similar to what Rutt’s Hut is today, were common in places such as Los Angeles where the famed stand, Tail O’ The Pup, stood for many decades up until a year or two ago.
If you’re from New Jersey, or lived there for many years, perhaps an evening of nostalgia to a simpler time will invite you back to the state!