Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review: The Truck Food Cookbook

Summary: It’s the best of street food: bold, delicious, surprising, over-the-top goodness to eat on the run. And the best part is now you can make it at home. Obsessively researched by food authority John T. Edge, The Truck Food Cookbook delivers 150 recipes from America’s best restaurants on wheels, from L.A. and New York to the truck food scenes in Portland, Austin, Minneapolis, and more.

John T. Edge shares the recipes, special tips, and techniques. And what a menu-board: Tamarind-Glazed Fried Chicken Drummettes. Kalbi Beef Sliders. Porchetta. The lily-gilding Grilled Cheese Cheeseburger. A whole chapter’s worth of tacos—Mexican, Korean, Chinese fusion. Plus sweets, from Sweet Potato Cupcakes to an easy-to-make Cheater Soft-Serve Ice Cream. Hundreds of full-color photographs capture the lively street food gestalt and its hip and funky aesthetic, making this both an insider’s cookbook and a document of the hottest trend in American food. -- Workman

I know I haven't said much about my trip to BEA earlier this month, and I promise I will write something up in the very near future.... but one of my highlights was the Workman party. I have heard fabulous things about this event for four years now, and I finally had the chance to see what all of the fuss was about! I have to agree that the Workman Party was fantastic because of the location, the people, the books, and especially the food.

One of the very first things that I tried was a tasty little beverage called a Grapefruit Fizz. I love drinks that are grapefruit based, and I have to say it was heavenly! I loved the tartness of the juice along with the fresh basil pieces, and I was desperate to get my hands on the recipe. I was told that it came from one of their new cookbooks, THE TRUCK FOOD COOKBOOK by John T. Edge.

Much to my excitement, THE TRUCK FOOD COOKBOOK arrived on my doorstep just a few days after BEA. I guess I really "hinted" around at the party that I needed a copy! Of course, I immediately found the recipe I was looking for and marked it for my husband to make later that same day (but more on that later.) What I also discovered is that this fun cookbook is chock full of fantastic recipes!

THE TRUCK FOOD COOKBOOK is a collection of recipes from America's best street food. I admit that I'm not exactly adventurous when it comes to trying food from trucks, but I have been known to frequent ones that have been okayed by friends. It's not that the food doesn't appeal to me, because who doesn't love the all-American foods that you can get from restaurants on wheels? I figured that THE TRUCK FOOD COOKBOOK might be perfect for me since I enjoy the food but would prefer to make it myself.

And I found that THE TRUCK FOOD COOKBOOK is a really great cookbook! Not only are there loads of delicious (and unique) recipes, but the author has provided some history about the food including some background on the food trucks. And if you are a fan of photographs, this cookbook is for you. There are tons of pictures of the food as well as the trucks and their locations. It was all very interesting to me and the entire cookbook has a very "funky" look and feel.

One thing is for certain -- this cookbook is not lacking in unique recipes. I honestly had never tasted or even heard of many of the foods featured in this book. There are quite a few ethnic specialties including Peanut Rice Pancakes, Horchata, and Kimichi Quesadillas to name just a few, but there are also standards like waffles, hot dogs, and tacos. THE TRUCK FOOD COOKBOOK truly has a huge assortment of goodies.

The cookbook is set up in the following chapters: Fries & Pies, Waffles & Their Kin, Brunch on Wheels, Unexpected Pleasures, Sandwich Up!, Hot Dogs (with a Bow to Burgers), Tacopalooza, and Rolling in Sweets. There is also a chapter on Street Eats Ethics as well as a section called My Life as a Lucky Dog where the author describes just how difficult it is to make-a-go of things as a street food vendor.

I have to warn you that most of the recipes in this cookbook aren't exactly healthy, so put your fat and calorie-counting aside as you flip through the pages. But seriously, what did you expect from a cookbook full of street food recipes? I am seriously dying to try the Grilled Cheese Mac and Cheese Sandwiches as well as the Sweet Potato Cupcakes. I am still on my diet, but when I'm ready for a treat, there isn't a lack of yummy things to try.

As I mentioned earlier, I convinced my husband to make me a Grapefruit Fizz based on the recipe from THE TRUCK FOOD COOKBOOK. I have to tell you that he wasn't about to squeeze the juice so he "cheated" and bought some pink grapefruit juice, but we did use fresh basil from our garden. I also have to admit that we added a little gin to the concoction -- the author suggested a slug of vodka which would have been yummy too! My husband did, however, serve it in a mason jar just like the author taste-tested it. I agree that it's an "ideal summer tonic."

Grapefruit Fizz
Serves 2

1 grapefruit
3 basil leaves
2 teaspoons agave nectar
2 pints soda water

Juice the grapefruit and add the basil. Pour the mixture into a blender and whir until the basil is pulverized. While the blender is running, add the agave nectar. Place ice in 2 pint glasses. Pour the grapefruit juice mixture over the ice, dividing it evenly between the 2 glasses. Top each serving with soda water; setting the remaining soda water aside for another use. Quaff.

THE TRUCK FOOD COOKBOOK is a must-see for anyone interested in recipes from different locations. It's an easy-to-use cookbook which is also full of some fun recipes.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this cookbook.

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rhapsodyinbooks said...

This cookbook sounds like a lot of fun! As I often say, I love Workman Press!

bermudaonion said...

I can't wait to test out that cookbook! I wonder what I could substitute for the grapefruit juice in that drink recipe.

Beth F said...

I love this cookbook -- and can't wait to review it. Soon!

Debbie said...

I love food trucks! And I love cookbooks. Sounds like a winning combination of a book.
oh...and a Grapefruit Fizz sounds refreshing on a hot summer day. Maybe today is the day to try it!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Food trucks are so huge here! I generally try to stay away from them because everything is SO decadent and unhealthy. But I think we will probably take my husband's Polish nephew and the nephew's girlfriend to a food truck rally on Friday night, just so they can experience it. I am actually scared of this cookbook, that it would be a bad influence on me! But Im tempted. Hey last night I had a Grapefruit and Basil martini and it was FABULOUS.

Joy said...

I love the chapter titles! That looks like a very refreshing drink!
Joy's Book Blog

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

My sister-in-law and I took a food truck tour in lower Manhattan and had a blast. We tried so many foods we probably would not have eaten otherwise and everything was fabulous. Next time you are in NYC you should do this, I think you would enjoy it.

Unknown said...

Next year, I MUST go to the Workman party!!

I have to know, do they mention the Rutgers "Grease trucks" in the book at all? This was my intro to Truck Food, and I need to get this book just to pay homage to them.

Carole said...

Grapefruit fizz looks super and sounds refreshing. Interesting book review. Have a super week.

Cecelia said...

That drink looks perfect for a hot summer day! I love food trucks - we have them all around (I work in downtown DC), and I try to go to a new one once a month. I'll have to check this cookbook out. Thanks for sharing!