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Cooking With Vincent Price August 21, 2008

Posted by Jim Berkin in Cooking, Food.

Here’s a fun article from Slate about one man’s experiences in cooking from Vincent Price’s 1965 cookbook.

As a collector of cookbooks myself, I’m an observer of how you can gauge whatever the cuisine trends in American culture were at the time of a particular cookbook’s popularity. Paul Collins’ article captures how the date of Price’s book embodies the mid-1960s prevalence of French cuisine as the “dominant” fancy-schmantzy gourmet style, along with a dose of Polynesiantown for adding some exotica.

From my own memories of what it meant to eat Chinese food, I don’t think the authentic stuff and the Szechuan/Hunan made it into the American mix until the late ’70s, and the copyrights on the cookbooks I’ve gathered bear that out. You can also see the development in sophistication in Italian cookbooks from the 1950s to now, in the variance of the regional cooking styles growing over the years, as well as the ingredients themselves.

Consequently, when I’m out on my book hunting safaris at yardsales, thrift stores and so forth, my rule is that I have to randomly find more than one recipe in a given book that I’d actually want to cook or I will not add the book to my ever-smothering stacks. And the ones that make the cut more often than most tend to be more recent cookbooks with a wider variety of material, as opposed to older books with recipes that may have been different in 1965 but are fairly run of the mill now. (Though if I ever came across Vincent Price’s book, I’d grab it in a second, since…. it’s Vincent Price, fer chrissakes!!!!)

You can even listen to him cook.… from BEYOND THE GRAVE!!!!




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