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The talented Mr. Perry

April 30, 2008 |  2:50 pm

Charles Perry's well-known byline appears in Food this morning on the lead story "Dogtown, USA," but the longtime staff writer retired from The Times last Friday.

Every story Charlie has written for Food, it seems, has generated an outpouring of e-mails from his very engaged readers. So we want to let everyone know that although he'll be heading to Turkey in the immediate future and has a number of projects planned, Perry's articles will continue to appear from time to time in The Times on a freelance basis.Picture_002_3

Coworkers bid him adieu with, among other festivities, a doughnut reception in the Times Test Kitchen, where glazed, raised and filled doughnuts from the city's best-loved doughnut shops were on the menu in honor of his endearing habit of bringing doughnuts to the office on deadline day.

It will be impossible to fill Charlie's shoes; he -- and his legendary collection of vintage and novelty neckties -- will be sorely missed. He is the quintessential "Renaissance Culinarian," equal parts historian, storyteller, detective and cook. While food is but one of Charlie's passions -- do a Web search under his name and you're likely to find references to medieval cuisine, long-dead languages, Haight-Ashbury, Rolling Stone magazine and even Augustus Owsley Stanley (his college roommate) -- it has, of course, been the focus of his professional life. A member of the Times staff for 18 years, Charlie has often been referred to as the wit of the Food section, with knowledge (and personal experience) covering everything from historic California pit barbecue to the finest ancient recipes for rotted barley.

Among Charlie's upcoming projects is the aforementioned trip to Turkey, where he'll take part in the Traditional Tastes Conference in Safranbolu and make a side trip to Istanbul, whose libraries contain arguably the best collections of medieval Arabic cookbooks. He'll continue his work with the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery and the Culinary Historians of Southern California (of which he is a co-founder and longtime president).

Charlie is also putting together a book proposal tentatively titled "Partying Like It's 1399." The book details the author's many adventures as a food historian. Mr. Perry describes it as "one man's quest to be cookin' it old-school."

We'll forward e-mail sent to his attention at food@latimes.com.

-- Noelle Carter and Susan LaTempa

Photo by Nick Cuccia

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