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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.

Pandan shrimp with Pandan extract in the background. Credit: Charles Perry

Pandan extract, derived from a Southeast Asian tree, has a wonderful flowery, nutty perfume. I've heard that cooks sometimes add it to ordinary rice

Tahini gado-gado and hummus with peanut butter. Credit: Charles Perry.

I've often thought of peanut butter as the American tahini because they're both oily seeds ground to a paste. The resemblance between peanut butter

Three-millennia fish. Credit: Charles Perry

My new favorite fish dish is modeled on a medieval chicken dish remotely descended from an ancient cheese spread. You heard me, cheese spread.

Thai coconut cake with lemongrass and ginger

There are, say, half a dozen main kinds of cake, but the range of frostings is theoretically unlimited. I've been experimenting with Asian flavor

Salmon Amandine with Saffron Aioli

Does anybody still make trout amandine? Once upon a time -- back in the sole Veronique era of America's discovery of French cuisine --

Super Bowl dessert: Butter cake with maple frosting and bacon topping. Credit: Charles Perry

Super Bowl is not a meal, it's more like agony and ecstasy with side orders of barbecue and nachos. That's why people never think

pre-roasted chicken

One thing foodies never do is buy any of those pre-roasted chickens from the hot display at the supermarket.  Never, never, never! (Well, just

marshmallow coconut snowballs

Snow is pretty much a theoretical thing to Californians, but we are aware out here that it is associated with Christmas somehow. We dutifully