chapter  11
Food, time and space: Mobile cuisine in New York and Portland
ByKaren A. Franck, Philip Speranza
Pages 18

In the twenty-first century one might expect that the age-old tradition of selling prepared foods in urban public space would have vanished. But in the US the custom flourishes, continuing to draw immigrants to its ranks. One may still encounter a lone Hispanic woman selling tamales, churros or sliced fruit from a grocery cart or Italian ices from a small cart she pushes by hand. But this is rare. Today nearly all vendors rely on trucks they drive or carts that are delivered to the chosen site. A recent change in food vending in the US, which accounts for the current flourishing of street food, is the emergence of the gourmet food truck. Their operators aspire not just to cook and sell food but to prepare food made with fresh, possibly local or exotic ingredients and of high enough quality to achieve the status of ‘cuisine’, but at affordable prices. The advent of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram allows such trucks to move from place to place without losing their customers. They now number 4,000 nationwide in cities with populations over 100,000 (redOrbit 2014).