Edge, who appears at Green Hills' Parnassus Books at 6:30 p.m. today, is hitting the road promoting his newest work, The Truck Food Cookbook: 150 Recipes and Ramblings from America's Best Restaurants on Wheels.
As food trucks continue to proliferate in the Music City, we thought it a perfect time to check in with Edge, relaxing at his home in Oxford, Miss., before hitting the road again for the second leg of his book tour.
When we last talked, you mentioned how the modern wave of food trucks owes a certain debt to the predominately Hispanic (and if not, certainly working class) rolling commissaries of the past. Could you expound a little on that?
For a couple generations now Americans have been eating at taco trucks,nespecially in the west and southwest. What was once exceptional is now everyday. In the book, I pay homage to those old school trucks. And I reject the term "roach coach," which some people still use to refer to the old guard. That's a phrase laced with bigotry. Like wetback, it's a pejorative that we ought to jettison from our vocabularies.
You mentioned Nashville as a city ascendant in food truck culture. Can you explain what you mean by that? Can we expect still more growth?
Like Charlotte, Atlanta, and Charleston, Nashville did not get out in front of this movement. Sure, Nolensville Road is a rolling buffet of great trucks. But the vanguard has only recently alighted in Nashville. Within a year, I expect y'all will work through the regulation issues and put the
pedal to the metal.
You believe that food trucks are here to stay — an evolution as opposed to a hipster fad. Do you expect any leveling? Or is it much the same as a brick-and-mortar restaurant — the inefficient, poorly-thought out or just plain mediocre will excuse themselves, with the good ideas (and good eats) sticking around for years?
Trucks are comparable to restaurants. Owners are small business entrepreneurs who, if they are going to be successful, must meet payroll, manage pantry, deal with the health department, and pay taxes. The best will flourish. The trend-surfers will fade quickly. No matter, this way of cooking and eating is here to stay.