With any craze, there comes a point when you need to stop and ask yourself, Why am I doing this again? For example, everyone in America standing in line in the hot, hot sun or the freezing cold for a measly cupcake should be asking themselves, Is this really worth 45 minutes of my life? Meanwhile, I am asking myself what is so great, really, about food trucks?
I love the idea of food trucks. I walk up to a line of trucks and feel downright giddy. I’m a kid in a candy shop with all these promising choices. I have but one thought and it is,
But obviously I can’t. So after careful deliberation I pick a truck and get in line. But as I’m waiting, euphoria wears off and reality sets in. I start to realize, Hmm, standing outside a running truck inhaling exhaust fumes for ten minutes has really curbed my appetite and has in fact made me quite nauseous.
And then I look at the prices and think, Why does this cost ten dollars again? There’s no shelter from the elements, no place to sit and eat, no ambience, no service, and often no utensils or napkins. There is literally just the food. So without all that overhead to incorporate into the price, why is my lunch still so expensive? I thought the trade-off of eating out of the back of a truck would be that it cost…like…a dollar.
Then I eat my food and am almost always disappointed. In hindsight I realize, Well of course this is never as good as it sounds. Because it was made in a truck.
Why would I expect otherwise? Why would food taste better just for having been made in a truck? I think for me, this misconception comes from the fact that each truck has its own specialty. There is the pho truck, the BBQ truck, the dumpling truck, the seafood truck, the pizza truck, etc. So if this is the one thing they do, they must do it well! If only that were so. Sometimes, serving a limited menu means that you can buy food in bulk, make it all in advance, and scoop it out of crock pot A, B, or C as customers order. So while a cilantro lime fish taco always sounds good on paper, a dollop of defrosted baby shrimp bought in a ten-pound bag from Costco and cooked hours prior is never the fresh and tasty treat I had in mind. And yet I keep coming back, still deluded into thinking that this ten-dollar grilled cheese is going to transcend the possibilities of bread and cheese because it has a whole truck devoted to it, and that means something, dammit.