Let’s Hear It for the Food Trucks!

Pulled pork nachos from local food truck (Laura Creel)

Pulled pork nachos from local food truck (Laura Creel)

I like what food trucks do. At first, I was wary about them — you know, traveling food … I was concerned about hygiene and cleanliness. Little Utopia’s editor-in-chief kept telling me that this food was probably cleaner and safer than anything I would eat in a stationary restaurant. But still I was scared.

Not so anymore. Last night, it was I who convinced said editor-in-chief to visit my neighborhood food truck gathering, all of them parked in front of a bright, fluorescently-lit Acura dealership. We had already eaten dinner, so we didn’t have a chance to eat the CHICKEN WINGS STUFFED WITH MACARONI AND CHEESE (!!!), but we did eat deliciously smooth cake batter ice cream with Reese’s on top. [editor-in-chief’s note: Those chicken wings will be eaten.]

We saw Friar Tuck’s burgery, the truck decorated like a “medieval” English public house. We saw rippers, or (as I learned) hot dogs that have been fried until the casing splits open. We saw 20-plus people waiting in line in front of a truck selling triple-meat sandwiches.

More than anything, I like what food trucks do to people. Food trucks are a modern, post-materialist refashioning of the village market. Even in the way that the trucks gather, in circles or in quadrants, mimics the form of an ancient city’s plaza or market square. And this confining, enclosing space works to bring people into community. Visitors buy food and eat it together in a shared meal that, at least in a small way, brings us physically and emotionally together in a world and an age that seems increasingly isolated with each “friend” we add to Facebook.

Maybe a tiny bit of my original reticence still lingers, but I’ll bury that feeling way down deep for something this good.

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