Celebrated food journalist and Southern Foodways Alliance Director John T. Edge is in town tonight to promote his new book, The Truck Food Cookbook: 150 Recipes and Ramblings from America’s Best Restaurants on Wheels. He’ll be speaking at Durham’s Regulator Bookshop, with OnlyBurger (featured in the book) parked out front and Fullsteam Brewery pulling locally-brewed pints.
“There’s nothing I can tell y’all about Durham’s scene,” he told me. “Y’all know it. You eat it.” Read my column here.
It was, of course, a delight to interview Mr. Edge. But I was equally thrilled for the excuse to dig up one of my favorite food stories of 2011, Rapping About Tamales and Deportation, written by Edge for the New York Times.
ON a dark, lonely street corner, a man in sunglasses leans against his car and waits.
“It’s ‘bout to go down,” he says to his cellphone, as an ember-red Chevy Monte Carlo with cattle horns on the hood pulls up. Out steps a menacing-looking fellow in ostrich skin boots and a black Stetson.
“Señor Bling,” says the man who was waiting. “The streets is fiendin’ for it.”
Up pops the car’s neon-rimmed trunk to reveal foil-wrapped packages of “it.” Bricks of marijuana? Kilos of cocaine? No, tamales plastered with the logo of the Mexican-American rapper Chingo Bling.
Tamales and masa, their cornmeal base, may not have the street cred of drugs, but Chingo Bling has tried to do for them what Tony Montana did for cocaine.