I think our relationships with food (production/preparation/distribution/etc.) shed light on interesting cultural idiosyncrasies, some good and some bad. Food is where our ethics, health, and commerce begin (or at least ought to). No doubt there are positives to be said about a health and hygiene conscious system of regulation, but I think there is a balance to be struck between sterility and the bacon-wrapped hot dog.*Not a word. Note: Food trucks are legal in LA, I’m not referring to them above.
I recently read a passage from Lawrence Osborne that I quite enjoyed:
“Bangkok has the best street food on earth, but what is striking about this literally movable and archaic feast is that it is always sandwiched between the corporate towers of isolating whereverness. It is a survival of nomadic food-on-the-go amid a static Western urbanism imagined by gloomy architects who could never envisage people down on the streets below enjoying themselves. The Western architect, after all, never considers such things for a second; they are irrelevant. If Thai Buddhists are urged to live in the present moment, savoring the principle of sanuk, or “fun,” then Bangkok street food is the ultimate proof that they are determined to do so and that nothing – not even the ghastly laws of contemporary “architecture” – can get in the way of sanuk’s insidious flow. Thus does improvised food unravel the very premise of the Wherever city, and just in the nick of time. I have often thought that such food, sweeping like a delectable tide of odors and textures on a thousand castors throughout the night, could save even American or European cities from their puritanical and over regulated frigidity. Biting into a stewed pig leg or grilled squid long after midnight on the sidewalk tables of Sukhumvit’s little soi, you cannot help but reflect that this elemental pleasure would be illegal virtually anywhere in the West.”
Lawrence OsborneThe Naked Tourist: In Search of Adventure and Beauty in the Age of the Airport Mall