Food Truck Secrets

Food trucks may be the hottest thing on four wheels, but they’re more than just a culinary trend du jour

John T. Edge wants to be very clear about one thing: Truck food, while prepared expediently, is not fast food. “The best truck food is not a compromise or something to eat and then feel guilty about,” says Edge, the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, a G&G contributing editor, and the author of the newly released The Truck Food Cookbook. And while food trucks may be the hottest thing on four wheels these days, they’re more than just a trend. “We pay homage to the roots of the street food revolution, which go back two and three generations deep,” Edge says.

Both a primer on the history of street food (limited here to vendors on wheels) and a compendium of tips, techniques, and recipes, The Truck Food Cookbook takes readers from Portland, Oregon, to Durham, North Carolina, to meet the mobile innovators who are dishing out what Edge calls “the culinary equivalent of the Great American Novel.” One of his favorite recipes? The Frito pie from Refresqueria Rio Verde in Houston. “Frito pie is the story of American enterprise in the South,” he says. “In the same way that barbecue is pork and smoke and salt, and fried chicken is chicken and spice and hot oil, Frito pie is a bag of Fritos, good hot chili, and maybe a diced onion or jalapeno scattered on top. Elemental eating.” And yes, you eat it right out of the bag.

Click here for the recipe.