Sunday, May 2, 2021

Street Food

This idea all started as a joke.  Our son, Hunter, and his family moved to Santa Fe recently and he and his wife were interested in trying out the many food trucks in Santa Fe.  So, I emailed him some locations and then wrote about my car difficulties.  He replied, “I think the cart food topic is more interesting than the SUV for a blog!” I thought about it and, after all, cuisine as an art form.

Looking online I found out that mobile dining and street food have existed in this country since the late 17th century and could be found first in larger cities on the East Coast.  I grew up in New York City and while I can remember food that you could grab from an indoor vendor in a train station, at the airport or an outdoor sports arena but the only street vendors I can remember were the small ice cream push- carts and, of course, the traditional New York hot dog vendors.

I learned that already in 1691 New York City, then New Amsterdam, started regulating street vendors selling food from push carts. In 1866 Charles Goodnight invented the chuck wagon which fed cattlemen and wagon trains traversing the old West.

Good Humor vending trucks started in the 1920’s, Back, in the 1950’s I do remember, The Good Humor Man, but not in my neighborhood!

As we all know things move faster in the twenty-first century. Early on Portland Oregon became known for its varied food truck cuisine. By 2008 you could find such delicacies as Asian-infused tacos on the streets of Los Angeles. By 2010 you had the Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association and in 2014 a National Food Truck Association.  Who knew?

In 2012 you could purchase a book called “Running a Food Truck for Dummies”!  I do find that a bit scary, but it shows how far we have “progressed” since the chuck wagon.

Enough of the Past.  Santa Fe has some of the best restaurants I have ever been to and in many of those with an international bent where the chef is from the country where the cuisine originated.  Even so we have growing number of food trucks, but I have never seen an ice cream cart!  At different locations several trucks feature Mexican cuisine. At the end of the Old Santa Fe Trail in a former parking lot are 5 different trucks, one with tacos, another with coffee and donuts and yet another with some of the best barbecue I have had anywhere.  To my surprise there is now even one with an Italian menu, Fettucine Alfredo, anyone?

I had joked with my son that if I tested and reviewed them all I would have a massive stomachache.  Looking it up online I found that according to Yelp there are 42 food trucks in Santa Fe, but I suspect that that does not account for the itinerant ones. Therefore, I decided not to attempt it!  Maybe another time.

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