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  • Writer's pictureBrian Thacker

Chuck Wagons and Roach Coaches

Neither of these sound very appetising - but we now know them as Food Trucks. I went to a Food Truck Festival today in the neighbouring suburb (here in Minneapolis), and there were over 50 of them (with no chucking or roaches in sight thankfully).

Food trucks were invented in America - predating even the invention of the automobile itself. The first chuck wagon was created by Colonel Charles Goodnight in 1866 from a rebuilt Army surplus wagon. Cowboys referred to their meals as “chuck” (an English term that referred to good, hearty food). This wagon would trundle around feeding cowboys and prospectors. It soon caught on and chuck wagons were seen serving up chuck all across the wild west.

It wasn’t until 1936 that the first 'automobile' food truck appeared when Oscar Mayer rolled out the first portable hot dog cart, The Weiner Mobile. And yes, you guessed it; the Weiner Mobile looks exactly like you think it would look like.

In the 1960s, larger food trucks hit the streets selling tacos and burgers. They were nicknamed “roach coaches” - as a result of their often-substandard health practices. Today, there are over 35,000 registered food trucks in the U.S. (up from 10,000 only ten years ago), and besides lifted health standards, they serve just about every cuisine you can think of. At the Food Truck Festival I went to today there was everything from Cairo Gyros to Amish Annie Donuts and Salvadoran Empanadas to Jamo’s New Zealand Pies. Here’s a few pics…

There weren't any real wacky ones there today, but there certainly are some wacky ones out there rolling around the streets of America. Here are some of my favourites: Taco beast

I love this. It’s a converted snowcat that roams the Steamboat Resort in Colorado selling tacos to skiers.

Sweet Jenni's Cupcake Truck

You gotta love a cupcake truck that looks like a cupcake - with sprinkled frosting in a pink wrapper. This frosty delight feeds the upper crust in the Hamptons.

Westport Flea Market Bar & Grill

Another food truck you want to eat. This one in Kansas City is a giant burger.

Company 77 Mobile Pizza Unit

This is fun as well as making stone-baked pizzas. This retired fire truck also has a working water cannon, a rooftop kitchen, a light show, a jump seat photo booth, and the pizzas come down a slide when they are ready.

SWAT Food Truck

It looks like a SWAT team is about to jump out, but this reused SWAT truck sells "Sandwiches With A Twist".

Kitchen Of The Unwanted Animal

This looks like something Americans would do down south somewhere with roadkill, but the Kitchen Of The Unwanted Animal is from Amsterdam in the Netherlands. And they actually do serve... Roadkill. Hunting laws in Holland outlawed hunting geese in the 1970s, and since then the population has gotten out of control and dead geese were being thrown away all the time after being hit by cars, so they use them to make, I'm guessing something like Goose Burgers.

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