I went on a trailer food crawl in February of 2010 with some girlfriends right when the "trailer culture" was blossoming. We set out on a chilly, sunny Sunday only to find only two of the trailers on our list were actually open. This opened my eyes to the need for someone to be perpetually in the know of what was happening in the trailer food scene, and I decided to make myself a liaison between the vendors and the eaters. From there, the Trailer Food Diaries blog was born.
Later that year, I met with C3 Presents, and we launched the first annual Gypsy Picnic trailer food festival. I continued to be inspired by the street food vendors who, much like myself, had quit a traditional way of life in pursuit of happiness. I started to wonder what would make an attorney leave his practice and drive across the country to open a food truck, or marvel at how an immigrant from Morocco would wind up opening a trailer half-way across the world.
Continuing to blog, I met with my writers group and committed to publishing a book on this subject. I spoke with agents in New York and California, I was turned down by local presses, I went in circles submitting queries, but nothing was catching. Finally, I tweaked the content from photo essay to cookbook, and we had a winner. Eventually, I shook hands with Greenleaf Book Group, local to Austin, and we published the first edition of the Trailer Food Diaries Cookbook.
Of course, I wrote about our own Austin first and launched it at the second annual Gypsy Picnic this past October. In two months, we have sold 3,000 copies and are placed in multiple local stores (see below). I am now in discussions with Whole Foods about a fun promotion with the book in their flagship store and hope to have more details for you in the new year.
The Austin edition is the first in a series of cookbooks that feature recipes from food trucks, but Austin isn’t all I’m writing about. I was in Portland last week and will present their edition next April during the Eat Mobile festival. Beyond Portland, I am looking at cookbooks for San Francisco, Nashville and New Orleans.
The real reason I love to write about street food is because the vendors are pursuing the American Dream. Each recipe in the books contains the background of the owner, along with beautiful photography that makes you feel like you've had the full experience.
The food trailer culture provides a model for how our community can be even more locally sustainable. Many vendors shop from our Austin area farmers, so often your dollars spent with them are going directly back into our economy. Anyone who loves Austin, food, boot-strapping and movers and shakers, this book is for you.
Austin Airport (ABIA)
South Congress Books
Pink West (Dripping Springs)
Wanderland (both locations)
All 10 Torchy's locations
Way South Philly
Lucky J's (Burnet Rd. location)
La Travassa Boutique
Austin Land and Cattle