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Charles Perry is a former rock and roll journalist (staff writer at Rolling Stonein the 1970s) who suavely transitioned into food writing in the 1980s. During his 18 years at the Los Angeles Times’ award-winning Food section he was twice a finalist for a James Beard award. He is a world-renowned food historian who has been cited in books in seven languages, and he is a major contributor to the “Oxford Companion to Food,” a two-term trustee of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery and president and co-founder of the Culinary Historians of Southern California.

Lime Butterscotch Cream Cheese Banana Cake. Credit: Charles Perry

Lime ought to show up more often in cakes; that's my philosophy. Lemon is great, sure. But there are already plenty of lemon cakes

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Faux aushak with tomatoes and bowtie pasta. Credit: Charles Perry

The only dish I've ever gotten a standing ovation for was Afghani. It's called aushak, which sounds a little like the singular of "aw,

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Wine, oranges and nutmeg go into the cocktail called Bishop. Credit: Charles Perry

This is the time of year for hot drinks such as buttered rum. Here's one from the 18th century that fits right in. The

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Red and green holiday relish. Credit: Wynne Everett

Elizabeth David called it Escoffier's chutney, and in the 1970s many of the food lovers who were about to give birth to California cuisine

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Pumpkin pie made with gramma variety pumpkins. Credit: Charles Perry

When I was a kid I naturally loved the holiday dishes, all except for the obligatory cranberry relish and pumpkin pie. I finally got

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Mongolian lamb bal-po soup. Credit: Charles Perry

Here's a fusion dish that combines Kashmiri and Chinese influences. It's not a new one -- it appears in a 14th-century collection of recipes

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Limes for lime vinegar. Credit: Charles Perry

Here's new kind of vinegar, not one flavored with lime juice but made from it. It resembles some old friends but suggests new uses

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Cucumbers. Credit: Picturepartners/istock

We gladly eat the flesh of squashes and melons, and we also eat their seeds, often toasted. But although cucumbers are in the same

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