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Food Trucks: Dispatches and Recipes from the Best Kitchens on Wheels Paperback – April 19, 2011

3.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A fun romp — a guide to 'the kitchens on wheels' that serve up meals on urban street corners.”
—Final Word, USA Today, 5/24/11

“In this excellent cookbook on roving foods, Shouse, the food and drink editor for Time Out Chicago, interviews 50 proprietors of various taco carts, ice cream trucks, crepe trailers, and kebob-mobiles across 18 major U.S. cities (cooking in a truck is still illegal in the Windy City). Along the way, she creates a fascinating landscape of cultural diversity--folks from all walks of life who have dedicated themselves to cranking out quick, cheap, nomadic snacks. In New York, there is the classically trained bassoonist who has become a local hero with his Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. In Seattle, a woman who is part Korean and part Hawaiian teams with a Chinese-Filipino to serve up Spam sliders. And in New Orleans, a Katrina victim who attended culinary schools in London and Sydney makes brisket in a refrigerator that has been turned into a giant smoker. Along the way, Shouse provides recipes for crowd favorites like the buttermilk fried chicken found in Oahu, and a Sloppy Jose in Miami. Some ingredients, it turns out, travel more intriguingly than others. Bacon, for instance, shows up as a mac & cheese garnish in New Hampshire, arrives as a doughnut topping in Austin, Tex., and beds down in an ice cream sandwich in Manhattan. (Apr.)”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review, 3/21/11

About the Author

HEATHER SHOUSE is the senior food and drink correspondent for Time Out Chicago, as well as the Chicago reporter for Food & Wine magazine. Shouse has contributed numerous articles to CHOW, Rachael Ray, Men’s Journal, Playboy.com, and Draft magazine. She has edited and coauthored multiple editions of Time Out Chicago Eating & Drinking Guide and contributed to the Native's Guide to Chicago. While her position as a local authority on Chicago’s drinking and dining scene has offered numerous opportunities to direct appetites toward notable spots in every corner of the Windy City, this is her first book to truly combine her passion for travel and eating, the two things that make life worth living. Learn more www.heatherjshouse.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (April 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158008351X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580083515
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #927,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By wogan TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
Food Trucks gives an education, a few recipes and a few specific trucks to look for in various cities.
The cities were chosen as locales with high numbers of street food vendors.
The book is divided into west coast pacific, pacific northwest, midwest, south and east coast. The number of food trucks covered range from 13 in Los Angeles to one in cities such as Milwaukee, Madison and Minneapolis, Marfa, Texas, New Orleans, Durham and Portsmouth. Strange to have cities chosen as street food regions to only have one food truck selected. Other cities covered are; Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Austin, Kansas City, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Oregon, San Francisco and Oahu.

There is information on the individual trucks and how they started. Side bars tell where interesting side dishes can be obtained - these have the addresses, the food trucks also have their web sites and how to twitter them.
This really is not complete enough to be called a guidebook considering the amount of food trucks out there now and it really isn't a cookbook. It has about 45 recipes from various food trucks.
It's an interesting look at what has really been a long time method to sell food in metropolitan areas.
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Format: Paperback
I have had an interest in the current trend of gourmet food trucks for about 6 years or so. I have dined at many trucks and trailers in San Antonio, Austin, Minneapolis, Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York, and more. I even dream of operating my own truck sometime in the future.

Although food trucks, carts and kiosks have existed for many decades, the current crop of fine dining mobile kitchens is a decidedly new phenomenon. It could be a direct result of the weak economy or it just might be an independent, organic movement of it's own. Either way it's making for some good eating.

I like several things about this book. The little cartoon maps of food truck gathering places in various cities; the small candid photographs (some professionally shot, others not) of food trucks and the people that run them; as well as recipes, all contribute to making this book a fair introduction to the world of food trucks. However, there are also somethings that I did not like.

The author is a food and restaurant writer in Chicago. Why is it that so many writers of food truck books come from a city that is notorious for restricting the operation of mobile kitchens? Anyway, from reading the credits for the photos I got the feeling the the author has only visited a handful of the food trucks covered. This is not what I expect from a book like this, especially in the days where hosts from programs like Diners, Drive-ins and Dives personally take you inside the restaurants and kitchens of top eating spots.
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I loved the idea of this book. If there were more recipes, this rating would be different. Some of the most interesting food out there can be purchased off trucks, and oh what a following! This book describes specific operators by city. It would be more timely, if it were a blog. If there were more recipes, it would have more value. I have no doubt that some of these trucks are already gone, and new interesting ones are cruising their old neighborhoods. Find a food truck blog instead. The few recipes included in this book aren't worth it. I feel pso strongly that this compelled me to write my first review. Apologies to the author, but blogging might be the better medium for this topic.
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The book has a nice design and a great concept but didn't really deliver on it. It breaks the coverage up by area of the country and city, but the author clearly didn't look at them in subjective ways. I live in Philly and am obsessed with the gourmet food trucks here but the author basically said all we have are rusty trucks serving up hoagies. Clearly she didn't do her research. Some other good food truck cities didn't get their fair share of coverage either. If this was a comprehensive/subjective book, it would be so much better. Recipes are okay but nothing that great. I think I may actually return it as it was the more expensive and less impressive of the two food truck books I bought.
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What a great piece of work this is. It make me want to travel to their locations and try for myself their expertise. I wanted the recipe for myself and will be sharing them at family functions....they will all wonder where I got this information and creations. Love it. cj
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I think the trouble with this topic is the somewhat temporary nature of food trucks.

Here in Kansas City we have a HUGE food truck culture. We have food truck festivals every summer, and some of the best chefs in the city have cooked in food trucks.
However, only one KC food trucks was mentioned in this book and that company is not even a food truck anymore.

Fresher than Fresh snow cones now has a brick-and-mortar location(as do several of the previous food-truck-only eateries)in K.C.
Most of the cities food trucks either have a physical location in addition to the truck, or they eventually graduate to a fixed shop, or they close up the food truck and move on to the next food adventure, like a pop-up or a foodie festival.

Food truck folks and creative and ever-changing. This cookbook reads like a history book, but like other reviews have alluded to, not a very interesting one.
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