Sunday, May 27, 2018
Opinion

Ruth: Food truck wars, the stuff of mediocrity

Perhaps the hand-wringing, the bitterness and the not-too-thinly veiled hints of recrimination are so intense because the stakes are so very low.

Once again, the spoilsports of Miami are whining in their cafe con leche over an effort by some Tampa hustlers to deprive our friends to the south of yet another civic honor.

If all goes according to plan, which might be regarded as the Operation Overlord of pulled pork, come next month a hundred food trucks will assemble at the Florida State Fairgrounds in an effort to set a new Guinness World Records mark for the biggest assemblage of al fresco fender dining in the history of the world.

Should this food court on wheels succeed, Tampa will surpass Miami, the current record holder with a lousy, stinking, mere 62 trucks parked together all at once in the pursuit of liberty, justice and gastrointestinal adventure.

As major record-setting accomplishments go, this barely ranks right up there with the world's largest hair ball, or the ability to consume 69 hot dogs in one sitting.

I've never understood the whole food truck culture. Not once have I ever turned to the Bombshell of the Balkans and said: "You know, sweetums, I could really go for some heart attack on a stick served out of a truck. Now that's living."

But apparently some folks think buying their vittles from a former Federal Express van and retiring to a park bench to spill it all over themselves represents a gastronomic tour de force.

And now the World's Largest Food Truck Rally, scheduled Aug. 31 at the Florida State Fairgrounds, holds the promise of being one the least important events to occur in the Tampa Bay area.

Or so it would seem until the Miamians started to get their arteries clogged over the prospect Tampa would wrest the vaunted title of having the most food trucks in one spot in the history of the universe. This led to copious amounts of pouting.

As the Tampa Bay Times' Laura Reiley noted, the food truck kingpins of Miami are none too pleased to have a completely meaningless record ripped from their grease-stained fingers. "The (Miami) promoters are very cutthroat," Jeremy Gomez, one of the Tampa organizers of the incredibly insignificant food truck event, told Reiley. "And they've been telling their trucks that if they come to our event they won't use them anymore. They don't want us to take their record."

Threats? You'll never drive a food truck in this town again? Really?

Who knew there was a fish taco food truck cartel?

It's understandable why the Miami folks might be miffed that Tampa would try to steal the Nobel Prize of Deep Fried Pretzels from their clutches.

Tampa has been known for decades as the cigar capital of the free world. And just last year, the Big Guava officially designated itself as the premier Cuban sandwich destination when the City Council passed a resolution declaring its "Historic Tampa Cuban Sandwich."

It must be true if the Tampa City Council says so.

The Miami residents were not amused, even though the Cuban sandwich had been a fixture on Tampa palates since José Marti was in knickers and all that is now Miami was known for was malaria — although it was, to be fair, indeed Guinness World Record-worthy malaria.

And now this. Tampa was plotting to dragoon Miami's food truck record as if this was the last remaining point of community pride, which it might very well be.

Of course, we know where this is going — a food truck arms race.

It won't be long after the 100-truck march takes the title from Miami that Miami responds by announcing plans for a 500-truck rally. Tampa will counter with 1,000 food trucks, only to be rebuffed when Miami smacks back with 1,500 food trucks — all of them selling fake Cuban sandwiches.

Secretary of State John Kerry will be called upon to mediate an end to the hoagie hostilities, but his credentials will be called into question when everyone is reminded that as a presidential candidate he once ordered a Philly steak sandwich with Swiss cheese.

And thus a new Guinness low water mark will be set: the stupidest world record ever. Hold the mayo.

Comments
Editorial: Welcome Bayshore changes still canít stop bad judgment

Editorial: Welcome Bayshore changes still canít stop bad judgment

Itís human nature in following any tragedy to imagine: How could this have been prevented? On that score, the city of Tampa responded appropriately to the deaths this week of a mother and her toddler whom police say were hit by a teenage driver racin...
Published: 05/25/18
Editorial: Filling Rocky Point lagoon to build townhomes is an empty-headed idea

Editorial: Filling Rocky Point lagoon to build townhomes is an empty-headed idea

One of the worst ideas in a long time in the field of urban planning received a blessing this month when the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission approved a land-use change for a project that calls for filling three acres of water insi...
Published: 05/25/18
Editorial: Searching for the real Adam Putnam

Editorial: Searching for the real Adam Putnam

Send out an Amber Alert for Adam Putnam. The red-haired, affable fellow who has served capably as a state legislator, member of Congress and agriculture commissioner is missing. In his place is a far-right caricature who has branded himself as a prou...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18
Editorial: A strong economic case for restoring voting rights for felons

Editorial: A strong economic case for restoring voting rights for felons

Floridians are paying a steep price for a system that makes it as difficult as possible for people who leave prison to reintegrate into civic life. Gov. Rick Scottís clemency process isnít just archaic and cruel ó it also wastes enormous public resou...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18
Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Regardless of the reason, the cancellation of the U.S.-North Korea summit to address Pyonyangís nuclear program is hardly the worst possible outcome of this high-stakes diplomatic gamble. President Donald Trump was unprepared, North Koreaís Kim Jong ...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18

NFL kneels before the altar of profits

The owners of the 32 National Football League teams sent a wrongheaded and, frankly, un-American message to their players Wednesday: Expressing your opinion during the national anthem is no longer permitted."A club will be fined by the League if its ...
Published: 05/24/18

Editorial: A positive first step in ensuring student access at USFSP

As a task force sorts out countless details involved in folding the University of South Florida St. Petersburg back into the major research university based in Tampa, ensuring access for good Pinellas students remains a concern. An enhanced cooperati...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/25/18
Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Legislation that waters down the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and was sent to President Donald Trump this week is a mixed bag at best. Some provisions recognize that Congress may have gone too far in some areas in the wake of the Great Recession to place new ...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18
Editorial: Honoring our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day

Editorial: Honoring our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day

The rising tensions with Iran, the resurgence of violence in the Mideast and the uncertainty over a nuclear disarmament deal with North Korea combine to create an unsettling time this Memorial Day. These grave threats to peace are another reminder of...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Another voice: The chutzpah of these men

A new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming claims.Mario Batali, the ce...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18