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Food Truck Lingo Might Be Just Around The Corner

Taking a sip of the official drink of the food truck movement, Mexican Coke
courtesy John T. Edge
Taking a sip of the official drink of the food truck movement, Mexican Coke

New words and phrases and new uses for words we already know creep into our everyday language from the most unlikely places, much to the displeasure of our English teachers.

For example, restaurants taught us that a "bar fly" is somebody who hangs around a bar awhile, and truckers got us shouting "10-4, good buddy!" So maybe it's only a matter of time before we start seeing the lingo of those food purveyors on wheels popping up in our American slang dictionary.

Food writer, historian and critic John T. Edge recently wrote The Truck Food Cookbook, part recipe collection, part travelogue and part social analysis of the food truck trend. In it, he's included some of the new lingo. After traveling with Edge through the South to taste some of these trucks' offerings for a radio story, I asked him to share a few with The Salt:

Hotdogeuros — men of Tucson who sell Sonoran hot dogs — bacon-wrapped dogs with specific toppings.

"They're taking an American food and re-fashioning it by way of the candy cane wrap of bacon by way of piling on pinto beans and jalapeno salsa," Edge explains.

Ventrification – the gentrification of the street food vending game.

"If, as I would argue, the modern version of this phenomenon begins with taco trucks, then as chefs and chefly folks step in, there's an inherent gentrification in both the way the food is delivered, the price of the food, the sort of food. You know – you see foie gras slowly creeping in on tiptoes," he says.

Mexican Cokes – served in tall thick glass bottles, and sweetened the old-fashioned way, with cane sugar (as opposed to high fructose corn syrup used by most American Coca-Cola bottlers).

"Mexican Cokes in the ice bin, the official drink of truck food movement," Edge says. (Yes, that's me, drinking one in the picture. And even though the blog Serious Eats conducted an exhaustive taste test last year that showed we've all been fooled by marketing, I swear it tastes better.)

Ya-ka-mein – a New Orleans street food also known as "old sober." A hot noodle soup served in foam cups that Edge describes in the book as a "kind of low-rent riff on (the ubiquitous Vietnamese beef noodle soup) Pho."

Nonstaurant – a non-traditional restaurant in a non-traditional setting.

B&M –a brick and mortar restaurant, as opposed to one that moves.

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NPR National Correspondent Debbie Elliott can be heard telling stories from her native South. She covers the latest news and politics, and is attuned to the region's rich culture and history.