Portland Street Food Vendors’ Recipes
By Tiffany Harelik
The History Press, $19.99, 143 pages
Author Tiffany Harelik has came out with the first of a series of cookbooks, focused on American street foods. Volume one of Trailer Food Diaries Cookbook is focused in Portland, Oregon. The city has an astonishing number, some seven hundred licensed street food vendors and in this medium-sized trade paperback Harelik tests the foods of, and interviews thirty-one cart owners.
“The main reason I’m compiling these cookbooks is to shine a light on small businesses that are living the American Dream across the nation.”
She has five Q&A interviews interspersed with recipes supplied by the vendors. This is an interesting book but is specific for Portlanders. She includes a brief bio of each of the vendors, and a few of their recipes illustrated with color photos. Unfortunately, this book is rather useless as a cookbook as the recipes are unedited, written as given by the food cart owners. They are inconsistent, ambiguous, and written in a professional short-hand style. Many require commercial kitchen equipment, some ask for ingredients you will not have an easy time finding (caribou sausage, Mama Lil’s peppers), and some use unexplained professional lingo. Some ingredients are given in unconverted metric units. One recipe directs you to prepare a sauce with one gallon of milk and five pounds of cheese! The index is poorly cross referenced as well.
Reviewed by George Erdosh