Saturday, August 23, 2008
I'm in Slate this week with the creepy joy of cooking with Vincent Price:
One of my favorite finds -- though it wound up on the cutting room floor -- was digging up a TV listing from 1971 in the Times of London archive, for a series of his called Cooking Pricewise:
For those who know Price from classic 1950s horror films like The Fly and The House of Wax—or who were imprinted with his Batman cameos and Saturday-morning commercials for Stay Alive and Hangman—it's odd to discover that he and his wife, Mary, were also gourmets. Thanks to tutorial LPs from the 1970s, you can still find clips of Vincent discoursing upon Viennese stuffed eggs floating about online; and the inevitable Youtube mashup assures that you'll never hear the words chunky peanut butter the same way again. But the Prices' culinary fame rests primarily upon their 1965 collection, A Treasury of Great Recipes, which culled recipes and reproduced menus from top restaurants around the world. Everyone who owns this volume swears by it for one reason above all others: The Treasury is a shockingly (terrifyingly?) good example of 1960s cuisine...
It's curious, looking over the listings, to recall just how few channels there were back then. (And that they didn't run for 24 hours.) There must have been untold millions of Britons watching Vincent Price in his kitchen, whipping up American Icebox Cake and Turkish Yogurt Fluff.