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posted: 7/13/2013 5:00 AM

Move over Mom: Jerome rolls along with food trucks

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  • Food trucks bring restaurant-quality yet portable food, like these meatloaf cupcakes, to people in shopping center parking lots and parks.

       Food trucks bring restaurant-quality yet portable food, like these meatloaf cupcakes, to people in shopping center parking lots and parks.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

By Jerome Gabriel

I really like food trucks.

A food truck is a mobile restaurant; it brings food to random towns and sets up in shopping center parking lots and near parks.

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There's a lot of variety of food that you can make in a food truck. I first ate from a food truck that sold really good grilled cheese sandwiches last winter. I've also eaten quesadillas and incredible chocolate ice cream from food trucks.

Food from food trucks is still prepared using the regular ingredients used in restaurants, but people serve it from a cramped, small place. Food trucks can be as small as a typical ice cream truck or can be as big as an small RV. The trucks I've seen fit about five people plus equipment.

I'd want to work some day in a food truck; it seems to be a good way to meet a lot of people.

A word from Mom: Food truck have come a long way from the hot dogs carts and taco vendors that would make their rounds of industrial parks, and their popularity certainly is on a roll.

This year's Taste of Chicago will feature food trucks for the first time, Arlington Park has a Food Truck Festival planned for July 13 and food trucks visit the Rolling Meadows farmers market one Saturday a month.

Since food trucks are mobile, part of the fun is tracking them down. Social media networks, like Facebook and Twitter, make that easy to do. Once you "friend" or "follow" a truck, it will post a daily schedule.

It's also fun to see how food trucks make foods portable. Tacos and grilled cheese sandwiches are meant to be hand-held foods, but meatloaf? Jerome liked how The Meatloaf Bakery served this classic comfort food so he tweaked the recipe and came up with his own on-the-go mini loaves.

• Jerome Gabriel, an eighth-grader, has been helping in the kitchen since he could hold a spoon. His mom is Daily Herald Food Editor Deborah Pankey.

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