Saturday, January 14, 2012, at 10:30 AM
at the Los Angeles Public Library
Mark Taper Auditorium, Downtown Central Library, 630 W. 5th St.
Free and open to the public
Charles Perry speaking on…
A Thousand and One Fritters: Food in the Arabian Nights
Who knew that that famous collection of marvelous tales from our childhood opens a window on the cuisine of the Middle Ages? In fact, The Thousand and One Nights mentions quite a few dishes of red meat, poultry and fish, not to mention lots of pastries, even wine.
The book’s translators, alas, have little idea of what these dishes were. But now that several medieval Arab cookbooks are available to us, we can at last know what “The Lad Who Ate Zirbaja” actually ate, why the cook shop owner in “The Tale of the Two Wazirs” was threatened with crucifixion for leaving out the pepper in the dish of pomegranate seeds, and what on earth all those fritters were that the translators keep mentioning.
Charles Perry is the president and co-founder of the Culinary Historians of Southern California. He was a major contributor to the Oxford Companion to Food, has served as a trustee of the annual Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery and was a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times Food Section from 1990 to 2008. He has translated four medieval Arabic recipe collections and is currently establishing the text of a fourth, based on eight manuscripts.