I recently saw the documentary about food critic Jonathan Gold, City of Gold, and it was not only inspiring for the palate, but also for the ethnic niches of Los Angeles. I have not been to Los Angeles, but I certainly want to go there now to try all the little family-owned restaurants featured in the movie. Gold’s ability to find all these little family-owned places is remarkable, and I wonder how he decides which ones to try.
What I found most interesting were the stories of the immigrants coming to this country in search of a better life and ended up opening restaurants in L.A. to support their families. The success they have achieved with their restaurants is inspiring and the success of their children is equally touching. Gold brought up an interesting point about the way in which we can attempt to learn about and understand a culture through its food, and we may think we understand it after eating a fair amount of its food, but that we really only scratch the surface. There was also an interesting discussion of the connection between food and writing about food, that dating back centuries, especially in Chinese history, there are records of writings about food and its importance to a culture.
The power of food, especially visually, is astonishing. In fact, to experience food visually through a movie rather than actually being able to taste it is almost a more powerful experience – maybe because it allows the imagination to dream about how it tastes based on how it looks, when in reality it may not taste as one would expect based on its appearance. So in a way, looking at food and hearing the stories behind it can be more exciting than tasting it with the potential of being disappointed. In any case, check out the movie! Jonathan Gold is entertaining, and it’s a treat for the eyes.