When I was given the keys to this spaceship — the first stand-alone food section to be launched by a major daily newspaper in who knows how long — my new bosses asked me to articulate a “vision” for it.
What stories to publish, which words to go where, what kind of drawings to go with them — I’m comfortable with all that. Articulating some kind of statement of intent to sum it all up? Not so much.
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Then, over dinner one night — the table being the place where we unsuspectingly so often learn things — my 9-year-old daughter told me about how books can be, as her teacher taught her class, “a window or a mirror.” A window into a culture or life or time that isn’t your own, a mirror that reflects what you know in a way that helps you see it differently or more clearly.
And it was in that moment that I found the exact words. Because is there any better way to say what a newspaper should do? Our mission is to be a window into or a mirror for the food culture of Los Angeles, of California, of wherever the stories take us.
We will endeavor to embody that ideal in these pages every Thursday and online all the time, to find and share stories and recommendations and recipes that enrich your experience of dining and drinking and cooking. We will be curious and sincere in our attempt; we will welcome new voices to work alongside the exceptional team already in place to create a conversation that is inclusive, expansive and smart. I want the mix of what we publish to reflect what food is in our lives: personal, funny, serious, everything.
If I have any wish to confer on you, our readers, it is this: that our recipes end up clipped out in binders in your kitchens; that the stories and videos we make are ones you can’t help but share with your friends; that you follow our intrepid critics into Japanese temples and Burmese cafes, into the incomparable landscape of diversity and excellence that makes Los Angeles the greatest food city in America today.
I would be remiss not to acknowledge the tremendous effort and support of the Times staff well beyond our team at Food — we wouldn’t be here without them — and to note we are doing this for you, the readers, and appreciate your feedback. The glorious thing about a newspaper is you print a new one every day, so consider our efforts an endless work in progress.