The taco truck : how Mexican street food is transforming the American city / Robert Lemon ; foreword by Jeffrey M. Pilcher.

Lemon, Robert, 1979- [Browse]
  • Urbana : University of Illinois Press, 2019.
  • ©2019
xiii, 204 pages, 16 pages of plates : color illustrations ; 23 cm


Writer of foreword
Summary note
  • "Icons of Mexican cultural identity and America's melting pot ideal, taco trucks have transformed cityscapes from coast to coast. The taco truck radiates Mexican culture within non-Mexican spaces with a presence--sometimes desired, sometimes resented--that turns a public street corner into a bustling business. Drawing on interviews with taco truck workers and his own skills as a geographer, Robert Lemon illuminates new truths about foodways, community, and the unexpected places where ethnicity, class, and culture meet. Lemon focuses on the Bay Area, Sacramento, and Columbus, Ohio, to show how the arrival of taco trucks challenge preconceived ideas of urban planning even as cities use them to reinvent whole neighborhoods. As Lemon charts the relationships between food practices and city spaces, he uncovers the many ways residents and politicians alike contest, celebrate, and influence not only where your favorite truck parks, but what's on the menu"-- Provided by publisher.
  • "The Taco Truck examines how the social spaces of Mexican immigrant owned taco trucks are transforming the urban landscapes of the Bay Area, CA, Sacramento, CA, and Columbus, OH, and are consequently challenging many preconceived notions of the ways in which urban spaces are designed and planned. The work is foremost ethnographic, as it documents the lives and social tribulations of taco truck owners while they learn to navigate the cultural terrain of cities in the United States. It then analyzes their everyday practices in the context of urban policy, urban design, and the marketing image of a city. Finally, it deconstructs these various relationships between everyday life and urban political power through a sociospatial lens. For instance, taco trucks in some cities are often manipulated by discriminatory planning initiatives that dictate where Mexican food practices can take place; by contrast, in more affluent neighborhoods, new artisanal food trucks emulating Mexican street food practices and primarily targeting non-Latino middle-class patrons are not subject to the same regulations. This work meticulously assesses how various food practices relate to the representational spaces of a city. It argues that immigrant food practices are not only produced by traditional foodways, but are also contested, celebrated, and influenced by urban populations and local politics. The Taco Truck argues that there are various social dynamics and interest groups throughout an urban environment that can determine the presence or absence of food practices"-- Provided by publisher.
Bibliographic references
Includes bibliographical references (pages 185-194) and index.
Foreword / by Jeffrey M. Pilcher -- Acknowledgments -- Introduction: Engaging Taco Truck Space -- Remaking Oakland's Streets -- Formalizing San Francisco's Informal Street Food Vendors -- Making Sacramento into an Edible City -- Landscape, Labor, and the Lonchera -- Community Conflict and Cuisine in Columbus -- Cooking up Multiculturalism -- Food, Fear, and Dreams -- Conclusing: An Evolving American Space.
  • 9780252042454 ((hardback))
  • 025204245X ((hardback))
  • 9780252084232 ((paperback))
  • 0252084233 ((paperback))
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