I watched City of Gold recently. It’s a great profile of Jonathan Gold, which shows how the easy descriptor ‘LA Times food critic’ doesn’t quite fit, because Gold isn’t just critiquing food. He uses food to tell the stories of LA, the stories in the shacks and strip malls, the places where no one goes to look for food or cant quite believe good food exists.
City of Gold didn’t just help me think about food in terms of writing, but also about the impact of where we choose – and choose not to eat – has on the lives of people. Jonathan Gold, essentially, tells the stories of Los Angeles through chronicling the city, inch by inch, food truck by stall, but what I thought was incredibly compelling was how Gold’s work has changed the lives of restaurateurs across generations. That is obviously not the role of the critic, but a part of the culinary-immigrant experience that Gold chronicles so well that I really enjoyed. It also cuts at this inherent snobbery people have about food; this idea that good food can only be found in authentic, hole-in-the-wall places, or in high-end dining concepts, never the places in between.