“I’m trying to democratize food,” Gold was quoted as saying. “I’m trying to get people to be less afraid of their neighbors.”
Gold died recently, leaving behind a rich legacy and many mourning fans. So what does that have to do with Irvine? We believe that certain truths Gold understood about L.A. are also true of Irvine:
“The thing that people find hard to understand, I think, is sort of the magnitude of what’s here, the huge number of multiple cultures that live in the city who come together in this beautiful and haphazard fashion,” Gold wrote. “And the fault lines between them are sometimes where you find the most beautiful things.”
Irvine’s geography and cultural diversity may not be as extensive as what Gold explored, and our master-planned community is certainly not “haphazard.” But it is important that we appreciate the magnitude of Irvine’s diversity, too, and see the beauty in it. One way is to explore the multitude of restaurants and markets featuring the food of the many people who live here.
Whatever your culture or country of origin, Irvine makes it easy to try a difficult-to-pronounce dish at a restaurant you’ve never visited. Take a cooking class. Shop at a market unfamiliar to you. Bring friends and family together for the meal you make from new ingredients. Maybe even invite the nice neighbor to join the party, the one you usually only nod to.
“Jonathan believed that food could be a power for bringing a community together, for understanding other people,” esteemed food writer and editor Ruth Reichl wrote in an L.A. Times story about Gold.
Togetherness and understanding—couldn’t we all use a bit more of both?