Tablet magazine bills itself as "a new read on Jewish life," and it's through that lens the publication profiles the LA Times' food writer Jonathan Gold.
Part of that richness comes from Gold’s Jewish upbringing, which has affected his interest in food and writing. Although Gold has interviewed thousands of people over the years, he finds himself on the other end of interviews far less often. And in those instances, Gold doesn’t usually discuss his Jewishness. So, I caught up with him recently, after he started back at the Times, to talk about his childhood, his career, and how being Jewish has influenced him.
The first and only food writer to win the Pulitzer—in 2007—Gold traces his interest in food to his childhood. Born and raised in L.A., he is the son of a Jewish probation officer and a Christian Scientist teacher and librarian who converted to Judaism when they married.
“I grew up in the most Reform family possible,” Gold told me. “My dad’s idea of being Jewish was dropping us off at religious school and reading the newspaper. My father always felt more Jewish in the delis than he did in the shul. Sundays were deli day at Junior’s or Canter’s.”
Gold, by the way, calls LA's deli options "great." The piece says he ranks the spectrum like this: "According to Gold, there is a hierarchy of delis in L.A. with Nate and Al’s at the top, Lenny’s, a show-bizzy place, and Junior’s for the middle class. Brent’s, says Gold, is 'filled with arrivistes from the valley.' 'My favorite is still Langer’s, because it is unreconstructed deli,' he added."
The photo accompanying the piece, above, is Gold at the 2011 L.A. Craft Beer Crawl and is credited to Caro Scuro/Flickr.