Musings of a Food Truck Owner
Today we would like to introduce to Mobile Cuisine’s newest contributing author Rebecca Withers Chastenet. Rebecca traded her pen for an apron in late 2010 with the opening of Slurp: Santa Fe’s Original Airstream Eatery. We are pleased to have Rebecca sharing her thoughts on a wide range of topics relating to the mobile food industry from the viewpoint of a food truck owner. We look forward to her future contributions.
Making plans for writing this blog meant answering the “why” question. Maybe it’s the one-time paid writer in me who turns instinctively to the “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” and “why” when thinking about filling an open page. Then the natural researcher kicks in, and I read every other blog out there talking about food trucks. (That’s actually the “how” part—how to create something different.) Next, call me outmoded or less-than-hip, but I’m still hard-wired to think about credibility—it’s the magazine masthead mentality. Or the “show us your press pass” way of thinking.
Hell! I own a food truck! That gives me the stories and credibility to tell you and anyone else out there whatever I feel like telling you about life inside a trailer kitchen. The “why” question: Answered!
So what’s this blog, with its tales from a trailer restaurant, and its musings from inside my head really all about? It’s about …Feeding. Fueling appetites. Filling voids. Doling out sustenance to satisfy life’s many hungers.
There’s a poem by Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney that speaks to me on many levels.
“I ate the day.
Deliberately, that its tang
Might quicken me into
verb, pure verb.”
Yeah, our food truck may look like a simple soup wagon in a 1967 Airstream trailer parked on a one-way side street in Santa Fe, New Mexico. But it has become so much more. I like to call it the “little temple” (and no! I’m not a Buddhist). But for many reasons—lots of them you’ll read about here over time—the place has taken on an air of the sacred. We feed folks breakfast and lunch, sure. And in a short and outrageously wild year we’ve also learned that our little enterprise feeds greater appetites.
We’ve nourished needs for friendship and satisfied honest hungers for simple, unaffected human connection. We have fed latent cravings for creative expression, and fueled souls aching for personal freedom from life’s ties. We’ve served up smiles, poured out tears, and danced with abandon to feed ourselves. And we’ve done our small part in meeting the national appetite for a new economy, one that speaks to 99% of us. (The National Restaurant Association’s research shows that 59% of American consumers are likely to visit a food truck, and 61% of chefs queried said they would consider launching a food truck as an entrepreneurial business venture.)
The food truck phenomenon has indeed taken the country by storm. People crowd around take-out truck windows for tacos and Korean BBQ, soup, cupcakes, and fancy daily specials created by culinary school-degreed chefs. In our Airstream, we do soups and paella, beverages, sandwiches, and the occasional batch of cookies. But what you’ll read about here each week will be more about the “why.” Why we do what we do. And hopefully entries about why other food truck owners tuck themselves inside their mobile kitchens and spend their time, like we do, cooking and serving up sustenance.
Eat the day!
Follow Rebecca on Twitter: @SLURPSantaFe