While other student-athletes were wrapping up the school year in May, first-year Goucher track and field sprinter Jaelan Gabriel (Houston, Texas / Dulles) started wrapping egg rolls that are the size of burritos! For the second year in a row, Gabriel worked at a black-owned food truck called Saucy Nosh in her hometown of Houston, Texas.
"The egg rolls are stuffed with brisket mac and cheese, we have a collard green one, we have a crawfish etouffee roll," describes Gabriel. "We have dessert ones too like apple pecan pie and peach cobbler."
Is your mouth watering yet? Her favorite of the egg rolls are the crawfish etouffee.
"It is really good," gushes Gabriel. When she wasn't chowing down, she worked as a cashier and sometimes helped assemble the food in the truck.
"The owner makes the food like the brisket and the mac and cheese at home the night before," says Gabriel. "We have the food all separated, then I roll it together and deep fry it."
The sprinter says that it can be tough to wrap the rolls because, after a certain amount of time, the wrappers get dainty and hard to handle.
"You have to be gentle and quick when you wrap," remarks Gabriel. "Or else it will rip and fall apart in the fryer."
Rolls like the Caribbean chicken have to be double wrapped because the fillings are extra saucy. All rolls are fried for five to eight minutes and come out looking a beautiful golden brown.
The truck travels to locations all around Houston, including Brazoria County and the Power Center, which has a food truck park.
"Brazoria County is where the owner started the truck," explained Gabriel. "She has been doing it for three years now, and she is a family friend."
Another big event that Saucy Nosh attends is the TSU (Texas Southern University) Relays.
"I go almost every year, and it is a big track event where all the big colleges come down to compete, along with AAU teams," says Gabriel. "It's fun to watch and fun to compete there."
Unfortunately, she has not been able to compete at the TSU Relays because her school wasn't competing at that time. However, watching the relays fueled her already formed dreams of running in college.
"I always knew that I wanted to run track in college," explains Gabriel.
The runner first started out playing basketball and volleyball but quickly added track and field to the list in her freshman year of high school.
"My freshman year, I made it to regionals for three events in track and then didn't make it to State for it," says Gabriel. "It was the feeling of being that good, and I had never played sports before that made me want to do it for real to go to State."
After her freshman year, Gabriel moved to Dulles High School and continued pushing for her goal of going to the state championship.
"Every year, I had made it to regional finals, but I never made it to state," exclaims Gabriel. She thought 2020 was the year she would finally make it because of her hard work the previous summer.
"The summer before my senior year was the first year I had done AAU," says Gabriel. "The team went to Nationals, and for one of our relay teams, we got sixth in the nation. After that, I was excited that I might have a shot at going to state, and then Corona happened.
When the school year ended and summer started, Gabriel rolled into making and selling egg rolls at Saucy Nosh. It kept her busy up until her first semester at Goucher College. Despite the long break between seasons, she is hoping to keep her momentum rolling and bring it into her first season at Goucher.