Hump Day Report: Sandy Relief & Boardwalk Treats

Hump Day LogoRants and raves about burning topics that have caught my attention midweek, be it greedy corporate shenanigans, frustration or joy in regards to the Philly sports teams, a movie, show or DVD that has fired up my imagination, an intriguing personality, or what’s happening in the region. — Lori Hoffman, Associate Editor, Atlantic City Weekly.

Hurricane Sandy was a terrible event that has affected so many local families still struggling to get back to normal. With the holiday season upon us, it might be even worse for those families who can’t think about holiday shopping when they have so much else on their plate.

However, as terrible as Sandy was to our region and elsewhere along the Jersey coast and in New York, the continued generosity of people across the country who are donating money and time to numerous relief organizations has been wondrous to behold. The Red Cross has been leading the way. The text $10 to Sandy Relief campaign has been all over the television. And locally, the live shows being organized to help with the Sandy relief effort are too numerous to mention.

However, a couple of local events stand out. Carrie Underwood, who was already donating $1 for each ticket sold to the Red Cross during her current tour, came to Atlantic City barely a week after Sandy. At a sold-out show at Boardwalk Hall, she declared that she would donate all her profits from the event to the Sandy cause.

Tomorrow, Thursday, Dec. 6, Neil Young & Crazy Horse will perform at a quickly organized benefit concert at Borgata. And it was just announced that Jersey native Trey Anastasio, of Phish, has joined the bill, which also includes the band Everest. The sale of tickets at a cost of $75 and $150, will go directly to the American red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort.

NHL fans were delighted to contribute to Hurricane Sandy efforts and finally see NHL players on the ice during the sold-out Operation Hat Trick charity game at Boardwalk Hall featuring the Flyers’ Scott Hartnell and Rangers’ Brad Richard as the captains of the two teams. That event on Nov. 24 raised more than $500,000.

Perhaps the multitude of mistakes made after Hurricane Katrina benefited our region post-Sandy. It feels like those more fortunate local residents, as well as concerned citizens across the country, were determined to help. And with a more vigorous and responsive government intervention this time, there is plenty of hope that “getting back to normal” might even be a possibility before the New Year arrives.

Atlantic City Weekly has published a terrific gift guide this week, with plenty of excellent ideas for holiday shopping. In it I suggested a book for fans of Jersey shore dining. But because space was so brief, I wanted to tell you more in this column about this terrific volume by Monmouth County native Karen L. Schnitzspahn titled Jersey Shore Food History: Victorian Feasts to Boardwalk Treats.

Jersey ShoreWebBecause she is from Monmouth Country, I’ll give the author a pass when she notes that Taylor ham is an acceptable alternate name for pork roll. She gets the pass because she includes a delightful history of “New Jersey Sausage,” which was invented by Trenton native John Taylor in 1856.

This book also gives us insights into the earliest days of Atlantic City’s fine hotels. The Victorian era menus included in the volume are a treasure. I also loved her inclusion of such iconic former restaurants as Hackney’s and Capt. Starns and the still standing Knife and Fork Inn.

Not to mention Zaberer’s, the incredibly popular restaurant on the Black Horse Pike in McKee City that was world famous for its Zaberized cocktail. In my case as a child, it was the Zaberized mug of root beer.

Of course you’ll also learn about the origins of salt water taffy and the history of Kohr Bros., and why we call our super big sandwiches submarine sandwiches, not hoagies or heroes. It’s the Atlantic City bread that makes the difference at the White House, Sacco’s and the other great sub shops in the region.

I also loved reading a remembrance from Atlantic City historian Vicki Gold Levi, which connected with my own memories of riding the Boardwalk on my bike Saturday mornings with my brothers. We’d go to watch the sea lions at Capt. Starn’s, stop at the Planter’s store to get pigeon food to feet the birds and top it off with a breakfast stop at Hi Hat Joe’s for a pork roll sandwich and birch beer on tap. Levi’s memory of Hi Hat Joe’s is about enjoying a burger during a break from the beach.

The book, published by the History Press, is available from Amazon for $13.99 with Kindle and Nook versions available for $9.99.

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