I picked this book up from the library after my boyfriend heard about it on NPR, and while I don’t like it enough to want to buy it, it was fun to read through. The subtitle, “150 Recipes and Ramblings from America’s Best Restaurants on Wheels,” gives a pretty good idea of what you’re in for. Edge is an enthusiastic eater of street food in various cities around the world—but this book, as the subtitle notes, focuses on America, and specifically on food from food trucks or carts, rather than street food more broadly, e.g. in the sense of food from to-go windows or kiosks. Edge provides the narrative text—which includes a bit about his own experiences as a hot dog vendor, plus stories about the food truck scene in cities from Austin to Minneapolis and short blurbs about the different trucks he’s visited; the recipes, and most of the photographs, are by Angie Mosier.

The first few chapters, alas, were pretty uninspiring to me: chapter one focuses mostly on fries, croquettes, and other things that involve deep-frying, which isn’t really something I want to attempt in my own kitchen. I’d happily order some of these things from a truck—sweet potato fries with garlic, cilantro, and lime sound great, and so do fried yucca chips with a garlic-cilantro mayo, and so do chickpea-flour fries with lemon aioli. This chapter also includes savory hand-pies, some of which (like huitlacoche empanadas or Jamaican meat patties) are fried, and others of which aren’t. The non-fried ones, like chicken/cheddar/bacon pasties or sweet potato and Swiss chard pies, seem more like recipes I might attempt—particularly the latter, which features coconut milk in the filling—although, honestly, I’m more likely to make a casserole with a similar flavor profile. The next chapter, on “waffles & their kin,” also had more recipes I’d be tempted to order out than to make at home: I don’t have a waffle iron and don’t actually like waffles that much; I like crepes, and coconut veggie chicken crepes sound brilliant—but making crepes from scratch sounds better left to the experts.

Things pick up as the book goes on: there are great breakfast/brunch recipes, like the brilliant idea of scrambled eggs + blanched green beans, which are served in taco form at Taqueria Las Palmitas in Houston. (Also brilliant: breakfast sandwiches with eggs, blanched broccoli rabe, and provolone, which are served at MikeyD’s Grill in Philadelphia.) There are two recipes from a truck in Madison called Buraka that sounded great: one is a chicken peanut stew that sounds wonderfully hearty, with potatoes, chickpeas, chicken, and peanut butter, and another is a vegetarian dish with lentils and sweet potatoes and a North African spice mix that includes paprika, cardamom, and lots of other deliciousness. A vegetarian jambalaya from the Swamp Shack in Portland sounds like a good way to use beets and parsnips, and I also totally want to make toritos (scroll down on that page), which are peppers stuffed with mozzarella and wrapped in bacon. There are lots of hot dog/burger/slaw/relish recipes that sound tasty, but not tasty enough that I really am inspired to make them; ditto for the tacos and other Mexican-inspired fare, though I could see myself making kimchi quesadillas (the recipe in this book is not exactly this recipe but is very similar).

The chapter on desserts was also pretty good—though I will not be making homemade marshmallows anytime soon (tried once, it was difficult and not that rewarding), I totally want to make these oatmeal/jam cookies and these flourless peanut butter sandwich cookies … Hm, both of those are from the Treats Truck – maybe I’d be better off with The Treats Truck Baking Book?

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