Price's daughter marks 50th anniversary of horror master's cookbook
Fans of late actor Vincent Price's classic horror movies might not know that the master of the macabre could easily have starred in real life as a master chef.
Among the actor's credits — along with roles in films such as “House of Wax” (1953), “The Pit and the Pendulum” (1961) and “The Abominable Dr. Phibes” (1971) — was a British cooking show he hosted in the early 1970s called “Cooking Price-Wise.” A series of cookbooks written by Price and his second wife, Mary Grant, included the best-selling 1965 edition of “A Treasury of Great Recipes.”
Price's daughter, Victoria Price, says her father's love of gourmet cooking and fine dining was an integral part of his life, in addition to his career in the entertainment industry and his role as a patron of the arts. Price and his wife enjoyed cooking together and experiencing the cuisine of the best restaurants in their travels in the United States and abroad.
“A Treasury of Great Recipes” features a collection of their favorite recipes and menus — an eclectic mix of dining destinations ranging from The Ivy in London and Palace Hotel in Madrid to Sardi's in New York City.
To celebrate a newly reprinted 50th anniversary edition of the cookbook scheduled for release by Calla Editions of Dover Press in September, Victoria Price will be the guest of honor at several special events across the country. Included on the tour is the Vincent Price Treasury Cookbook and Wine Dinner on June 17 in Morgantown, W.Va.
Chef Marion Ohlinger, a Morgantown food consultant, was selected to prepare a five-course dinner adapting his signature Appalachian style to a handful of Price's favorite recipes chosen from the cookbook. Ohlinger hosts a monthly Appalachian Global Dinner Series in the area featuring meals prepared with primarily or entirely locally sourced ingredients.
He plans to incorporate locally sourced ingredients in the special menu, including fresh and local fish for the second course, Brook Trout Kinilau, a Filipino version of South American ceviche and escabeche that features fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices or vinegar.
“It's the original Asian/Spanish fusion,” Ohlinger says.
Dinner will start off with a Scandinavian Fruit Soup, followed by the Brook Trout Kinilau, Almohabanas and Sopa de Ajo (the chef's interpretation of a Spanish garlic soup teamed with Puerto Rican rice meal dumplings); Cocette of Guinea Hen; and for dessert, Strawberries Puiwa, a Polynesian specialty featuring first-of-the-season fresh strawberries with brandy.
Ohlinger says he was excited to be asked to create the menu for this occasion, which will be accompanied by selections from the Vincent Price Signature Wine Collection. He found the cookbook to be “a great cookbook for its time, very open-minded and culturally diverse.”
The 50th anniversary edition of “A Treasury of Great Recipes” will feature a retrospective preface by Victoria Price and an introduction by Wolfgang Puck. She says the book captures her father's “completely omnivorous approach to life. It was not only the food, but the whole experience, that gave him an appetite for experiencing new cuisine.”
“I've tried to distill his philosophy into three bite-size words — explore, savor and celebrate,” she says. “He explored the world through his adventures, he savored the experience wherever he was, and he celebrated that whole process by breaking bread, which is a great connector.”
Victoria Price lives in Sante Fe, N.M., where she is an interior designer and art consultant. She wrote “Vincent Price: A Daughter's Biography” (1999, St Martin's Press) and has written for national magazines. She has taught at the University of New Mexico, New Mexico Highlands University, and the Philos School, an alternative arts-and-humanities school in Santa Fe that she helped to found.
She earned a bachelor's degree in art history and theater from Williams College and completed a doctoral program in American Studies at the University of New Mexico.
Victoria Price will appear at two unrelated events in the Pittsburgh area next week: at a private engagement at Carnegie Museum in Oakland on June 18 and the “Monster Bash” classic monster-movie conference and film festival June 19 to 21 at Four Points Pittsburgh North in Mars. Details: 724-238-4317 or monsterbash.us
Pre-orders for the cookbook ($50) signed by Victoria Price are available at vincentprice.com .
Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.