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‘The Great Food Truck Race’: Not A Race

By / 08.09.10

Next Sunday, the Food Network will debut a show titled “The Great Food Truck Race.” Having shed their once lowly and possibly undeserved reputation as a merchants of rancid meats and other substandard foodstuffs, food trucks have in recent times become yet another thing for foodies to fetishize to the point of obnoxiousness. Whatever. So long as they’re racing the damn things, I can be convinced to tune in.

Seven specialty food trucks — home-style Cajun, fine-dining French, pressed sandwiches, Vietnamese banh mis, crepes, hamburgers and banana pudding — will set off on a six-week road trip from Los Angeles to New York, stopping along the way to peddle their grub. The teams who sell the most food advance to the next town; the losers pack up their fryers and head home. As the celebrity chef Tyler Florence, who hosts the show, put it recently, “It’s like ‘Cannonball Run’ with food trucks.”

Woo! Cannonball Run! Say, that’s a movie about a race. Can’t wait for Jackie Chan and Terry Bradshaw to reprise their respective role as Asian stereotype and bumpkin extraordinaire. You’ll never guess what animal they’re trying to cook for you! This is going to be a non-stop thrill ride.

Strictly speaking, the show is not a race. Each week the trucks roll into in a new city, where their first stop is the health department for inspections and permits. They then spend 72 frantic hours scrambling to secure parking spots, shopping for ingredients, promoting their wares (no Twitter or Facebook allowed), cooking their food and, finally, selling as much of it as possible. [New York Times]

FRANTIC PARKING! DIZZYING HEALTH INSPECTIONS! X-TREME N-GREDIENTS! This show has got it all.

Except for, y’know, a race. Besides, we all know the Vietnamese and French trucks are going down as soon as the show gets out of one of the coastal cities. Unless they take some advice from the Fleet-A-Pita franchise:

Helen: Hmm, Pita. Well, I don’t know about food from the Middle East. Isn’t that whole area a little iffy?

Hostess: [laughs] Hey, I’m no geographer. You and I — why don’t we call it pocket bread, huh?

Maude: [reading the ingredients list] Umm, what’s tahini?

Hostess: Flavor sauce.

Edna: And falafel?

Hostess: Crunch patties.

Helen: So, we’d be selling foreign…

Hostess: Specialty foods. Here, try a Ben Franklin.


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