“A Feast for the Nose: the Perfumed Banquet in Old Damascus” with Charles Perry
Happy 2014! We have a great year of culinary talks ahead! We’re kicking things off with CHSC President Charles Perry’s lecture “A Feast for the Nose: the Perfumed Banquet in Old Damascus.”
Medieval Arab banquets focused on aroma – not only of the food, which was proverbially rich with the scents of herbs, spices, fruits and flowers, but of the diners themselves. Before attending the banquet, diners would have perfumed their hands, faces, hair and clothes. At the table they would wash their hands with perfumed soap and, after dining, they would clean their hands with special perfumed cleansing powders and then splash themselves with scented waters.
This talk will bring to life this highly scented way of entertaining, complete with samples of perfumes from medieval recipes.
A reception with themed refreshments will follow the talk at approximately 11:30.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Charles Perry is a well-known food historian. He wrote the chapter on the Middle East for the American Historical Association’s forthcoming textbook on food history, has translated four medieval cookbooks from Arabic and is at work on a fifth, which will be published by NYU Press. A great-grandson of Gold Rush pioneers, he has also studied California food history and is the president and a co-founder of the Culinary Historians of Southern California.
Free and open to the public.