You can stroll the taco stalls throughout Mexico City, browse the hawker markets for satay or Zhen Zhen porridge in Singapore, grab jerk chicken off a street-side grill in Jamaica, buy a hot dog off a cart in New York, nab elote from a table in Chicago or pick up a cup of frites with mayonnaise in Amsterdam. In cities all over the world, people set up stands or stalls and sell food they have passionately cooked for years, sometimes generations, to offer folks on the go a quick, delicious and inexpensive meal. Most cultures contribute to street food and the environments in which their wares are sold can range from a single stand set up on a street corner in a busy neighborhood or a bustling market offering dozens of dining options.
Baked beans, pumpkin pie, huckleberry pie, oatmeal cookies, cup custard, beef and noodles with burgundy sauce, hearty stews, fish cakes, “velvety” baked hams, macaroni and cheese, “succulent” Salisbury steaks, creamed spinach, the “fluffiest” mashed potatoes… “these are a few of their favorite things”... ‘cause for sure, every man, woman and child had a favorite. One can almost taste the memories of those lucky enough — or even those down on their luck — to have frequented one of the 84 Horn & Hardart Automats (automatic cafeterias with steam tables and waitstaff) that operated in the U.S. from July 1901 through April 1991.