By now, most of you know my love and endless fascination for food trucks. From Durham’s Food Truck Rodeo to DC’s Truckeroo, I hardly turn down an opportunity to test out new ones and get some of my favorites.
Which led to me to realize while I was last waiting in line for about 45 minutes for a homemade ice cream float in root bear that we can learn a lot about life from food trucks (The Parlour in NC with its homemade ice cream out of mini schoolbus is so worth 45 minutes. The line is proof). Here are 5 Lessons I’m constantly reminded of at food truck rallies.
1. Have patience
I’m a rather impatient person, but for some reason, when I see food trucks, the foodepreneurs working hard, and the throng of food-loving people, I am perfectly content to wait in line. Perhaps it’s that I am so eager to get that hopefully-delicious food or that I’ve waited so long, I’ve become fixated and obsessed.
In a world which rushes rushes rushes, and as a person who rushes rushes rushes, waiting in line gives me time to pause and appreciate what’s around me. (Generally) happy people in a good mood looking for alternative ways to eat and connect with the people who make and sell their food. Busy, but (seemingly) fulfilled individuals living out a life’s dream owning a food truck selling the things they have always loved to make and knowing that people love their food.
Seeing people love food? Worth learning patience.
2. Find the joy
Sometimes, a food truck rally novice dares to complain loudly about the line. Fortunately, the other people put the kabash on that fairly quickly. There’s sort of an unsaid rule to just relax and have fun with neighbors in line. If we had to wait this long at a traditional brick-and-mortar stop or at the DMV, we’d be protesting big time. But with food trucks, just gotta kick back and find the joy and humor that we love food so much, we’ll spend a crazy amount of time for that bite.
And we don’t mind.
So when we’re stuck in line (or anywhere), just relax and have fun. Talk to neighbors – we might meet some new friends – laugh about it. Life is too short to complain.
3. You can’t always get what you want
My general game plan for food trucky rallies is that I look up online to see which food trucks will be there. Then I try to find ones I have never tried before – and I study menus. I do. I study them. And I plan. Food truck stop #1. Food truck stop #2. I don’t over plan because I know that I can’t get to too many in 2 hours. (Yeah, OK, I spend two hours at food truck rallies.)
But I also don’t overplan because I know that when I get up to the line, they sometimes sell out. Especially the popular flavors and options. We wait and wait, and then when we are two people away, they say, “SOLD OUT.” Our heart sinks. That fantasy of salted butter caramel? Gone. We could play the “If only I had gotten here 2 minutes earlier,” “If only the stupid person in front of me picked something else…,” but instead of wasting your brain cells with the “If only,” remember that we don’t always get what we want.
And it still turns out OK.
4. Be flexible
When we don’t get what we want, it’s important to be flexible. Keep options open. Being too fixated on one thing can lead us to unhealthy obsession or overanalytical “What Ifs.” So they ran out of chicken spinach, try something else. Or perhaps by the time we reach the front, we’ve changed your mind. Or we may have seen someone else walk about with the Havarti Cheese instead of the Mozzarella we had been dreaming about, and boy, does that Harvarti look good.
It’s great to stay open-minded and flexible. We never know what new opportunities will come our way if we remain flexible. No more sourdough? Bring on that seeded rosemary!
5. Be adventurous
Food trucks are also wonderful places to experiment – not only for the proprietors, but for the consumers. Tator tots in duck fat? Well, why not? Give it a try! Food trucks are not inexorbitant amounts of money, so the risk is low. If we don’t like, that’s OK. But we may end up discovering new flavors that our palate loves.
Food, especially, is not meant to be status quo. Who wants the same sandwich every day forever (maybe a few of us do)? Life is about experience – and food is a delightful way to test out unchartered waters. Give it a go. We just never know.
One thing I have heard from my vegan and vegetarian friends is the limited option of food trucks for vegan/vegetarian food. This is changing, however. Triangle Raw Food, for example, sell out like crazy with their over-the-top raw culinary creations.
So here is my little attempt at food truck-friendly food. While these vegan spring rolls are nowhere as pretty as what these amazing foodepreneurs could make, they sure are delicious and easy – wouldn’t mind seeing these on a food truck one day. Hint, hint, anyone?
Vegan Spring Rolls
Rice paper rolls
1 carrot, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
2 cups mushrooms, sliced lengthwise
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 bunch vermicelli, cut with scissors
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1. Put vermicelli in hot water until soft and cut
2. Assemble each rice paper with ingredients.
3. Heat enough oil in wok and fry
4. Serve with sweet chili garlic dipping sauce