How journalist Ligaya Figueras presses on

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I grew up reading the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as part of my morning ritual. As a youth, I didn’t know about its storied history – founded in 1878 by Joseph Pulitzer, the same fellow who established the prize that has recognized excellence in journalism since 1917. I just wanted to read comic strips and stay abreast of Cardinals baseball and Blues hockey. By the time I graduated from high school, I had become a voracious reader of the A, Metro and Everyday sections.

The day in the late 2000s that my recipe for Butternut Squash with Spaghetti was featured in a home cooking column in the Post-Dispatch was a moment of pride. A year or so later, my own byline landed in its Food section.

In my 20-year publishing career, I have written and edited all manner of copy in English and Spanish for newspapers, magazines and small presses. The last 13 years have been devoted to food and dining, the last five with you, our Atlanta Journal-Constitution readers.

Since 2015, I’ve had the privilege not only of overseeing Atlanta’s food and dining coverage, but also reporting on it. Do you remember when the Here to Serve restaurant group shut down its restaurants overnight leaving 300 employees without jobs, or when the Atlanta Braves reversed course to let fans bring in outside food to SunTrust Park in 2017? I do. I reported those stories.

We can all remember where we were when COVID-19 became a stark reality. I was on a long-planned ski vacation to Park City, Utah, with my husband of 25 years and our sons, now ages 25 and 21. During the 1,800-mile drive back to Atlanta, my husband and kids took the wheel while I set up mission control in the back seat to adjust The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s food and dining content for a city in lockdown.

Because of your support, one year later, we continue to spotlight metro Atlanta restaurants every weekday in lieu of reviews. Recipes remain attuned to home cooks who don’t venture far from home for esoteric ingredients.

A reader recently sent me a note thanking me for “being such a great part of the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Atlanta food community.” I was touched by his last line. “Don’t go anywhere,” he wrote.

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