Writer John T. Edge is one of American food’s greatest voices. Rooted in the South but curious about every nook and cranny of this globe and what the folks in those nooks cook and eat, John T. approaches the most humble of foods with a boyish glee and the luxurious and exotic with his traveled sophistication. His latest book, The Truck Food Cookbook, (Workman Publishers) explores food served out of trucks, carts and wagons across America.
Food carts today serve much more than hot dogs on the streets of New Orleans and New York and more than tacos in border towns and construction areas (although there is absolutely nothing wrong with either of those fantastic offerings). John T. has found older immigrants–post retirement–making exquisite crepes on the street in Philadelphia and young, upstart chefs slinging sophisticated farm to fork food in a rolling “shack” in Minneapolis. He tasted fused ethnic flavors such as kimchi quesadillas and Chinese spiced duck tacos. Beyond the views of ethnicity and economics in America that eating from a roadside truck affords, it gives us a glimpse into the bootstrap pulled spirit of freedom to express oneself through creative hard work. Folks who serve food out of a truck are brave. They must jump through the hoops of zoning, health codes, and licensing that every other restaurateur jumps through, but they also face standoffs with adjacent business owners and turf wars with other trucks. Their bravery turns into a delicious result as they find their spot for the day, put out their signs, and watch lines form outside of their little windows.
John T. celebrates these creative and brave folks in The Truck Food Cookbook and we, in turn, celebrate our friend and colleague, John T. Edge. Obtain a copy of the book for yourself, cook out of it (this food is fun!) and support your local street vendor.
John T. Edge is on tour with his book right now. Tonight he will be in Atlanta, Georgia at A Cappella Books from 7:00-9:00. On June 16th, he will join with music and food forces at the Freshworks Festival in Birmingham, Alabama. You can follow his tour at: http://truckfoodcookbook.tumblr.com
You can read all about John T. Edge at www.johntedge.com