Today’s eGullet kerfuffle on the riches of New Jersey cuisine is exactly the kind of thing that makes us love New York all the more. eGullet co-founder Steven Shaw started a thread in which he berates New Yorkers for their neglect of the Jerz’s fine food: The argument goes that with the Japanese market in Edgewater (hm), Newark’s inherent awesomeness (um), and the fact that 60 percent of New Yorkers have a car (wha?), we’ve got no excuse not to visit our neighbors. His conclusion, therefore, is that New York foodies are “lazy” and “lack a fundamental element of cultural literacy about food in the New York metro area.” We’re not going to say anyone’s got a chip on his shoulder, but … wow.
The responses poured in — but true to our reputation for self-obsession, the only part of Shaw’s post that made any impression on New Yorkers was his rather dubious assertion that a majority of us own cars. As one commenter put it:
You’re completely all wet when it comes to car ownership. The idea that most downtown Manhattanites have access to cars (except for those wealthy enough to have drivers…) is simply absurd.
True, true. And, seeing as some folks at Grub Street have serious roots New Jersey, have lived there for years, and have even penned the Newark restaurant guide in this week’s issue, we consider ourselves “expert” enough to weigh in on the matter: Sorry, Shaw, but when it comes to eating and eating well, a New Yorker would be nuts to cross the river just for a meal. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson: When a man is tired of New York, he is tired of food; for there is in New York all that food can afford. Only in the tomb, or Heaven’s bright shore, can such a jaded appetite find peace.