I knew it!
Hofmann Brand - love it!
Cooked on a griddle? Exactly as they should be done - a la Heid's of Liverpool.
Salt Potatoes - love it! (I'm from Syracuse, John - so I'm loving it).
I had a feeling from his accent when he was talking that he was from CNY. I'm TOTALLY hitting this place. Yes. Thanks guys!!!! (I guess I'm leaving the Hofmann Franks I bough at Wegmans at home).
Scorereader; I am curious...what did you think of the Salty Balls?
Well, I grew up with Salt Potatoes (or salty balls as named at Maui's) - so they tasted much like I'm used to. But, I actually thought he could've used a higher salt content in the brine. The outside of the potatoes did not have enough of a salt crust, as they do back in my native Syracuse. But, I think the Syracuse/CNY level of salt in the brine, would be too shocking for first time eaters in NJ. So, I think he cuts the salt down to make it more palatable to Philly/NJ tastes.
The brine, should be quite salty. The history of the salt potato is this. Syracuse, NY - or actually Liverpool, NY was the first "Salt City" in the US. There were salt water pockets underneath Onondaga lake. To get the salt, the water was drawn up, and then cooked in hug pots. When the water boiled out leaving only the salt, the salt was scooped out and new water drawn into the pot. It was hot, sweaty work for the Irish immigrants. The workers would toss their potato lunch into the salty brine to cook it. What came out, once the water dried, was a salt layer on the outside of their potato.
The Erie Canal allowed Syracuse to becomethe Salt City, as Syracuse could export its salt down the Erie canal to NYC, where the salt would be sold to buyers from around the world. At one point, these Salt houses in Syracuse/Liverpool was the major supplier of salt to the United States.
The practice vanished when the salt production died out. It was not the most efficient way to get Salt, coupled with the expensive trip to NYC by canal, other salt processing out-priced the Syracuse salt business.
The only tradition left, was boiling potatoes in salty brine. In the 1900s, a catering business named Hinerwadel's, started including these salt potatoes in their corporate clam bakes they hosted. Instead of a regular potato, they boiled new potatoes (Which are typically between the size of a ping pong ball and a golf ball), and served them with drawn butter (the same butter used with their clam and lobster). By the 40s and certainly the 50s, this item quickly became a CNY picnic and summer favorite.
It's a very CNY regional food item, not really found in Rochester to the West or Albany in the East, Binghamton to the South, nor Watertown to the North.
So, if you see this item in a businesst, someone associated with that business is either from CNY, or visited CNY, or is otherwise tied to CNY.
<message edited by Scorereader on Tue, 07/12/11 12:47 PM>