Film archivist and food lover Jenny Hammerton suggests the perfect dish to accompany your screening of a Hollywood classic. Simply follow the recipe to enjoy a dinner with a twist and dine like a star.
Vincent Price was the absolute indisputable Master of Menace, playing some of the scariest and most sinister villains of the Golden Age of Hollywood. But did you know, he wrote several excellent cookbooks too?
Vincent loved to eat, he loved to cook, and most of all he loved to share food with friends and family. The cookbook he wrote with his wife Mary, A Treasury of Great Recipes, published in 1965, has become a cult “must-have” book for foodies all around the world. A first edition copy of this much sought after tome would currently set you back around £450, but fear not, a 50th anniversary edition will be available in early November. Put it on your Christmas list! Alternatively, I’m running a fun Cookalong with a chance to win a copy of the 50th Anniversary Edition of the Treasury (RRP £32) – all you have to do is cook a dish from the book and blog about it – recipes are provided, details are here.
You could have endless spooky nights eating in over the winter, watching Vincent Price movies with delicious dishes from the book to accompany them.
The Prices travelled the world, eating in the very best restaurants, gleaning recipes from many of the greatest “alchemists in tall white hats” who allowed them into their kitchens. But the Prices weren’t snobs. Alongside recipes from Michelin starred restaurants such as the Tour d’Argent in France, they wrote about the joy of eating hot dogs at baseball games, and homemade hamburgers on Sunday evenings. Their belief that everyone, whatever their budget, could eat delicious, and sometimes glamorous food is scattered throughout the book. Each recipe has a headnote, written by Vincent and when you know his mellifluous voice, you cannot help but hear him speaking these introductions as you read them.
Victoria, Vincent and Mary’s daughter, has written a truly joyful introduction to the new version of the book. She’ll be coming to the UK in November and there are many events celebrating her father’s life and work happening in London, Manchester and Dublin. Details of the Vincent Price London Legacy Tour are here – there are still a few tickets left for some of these very special events. You can find details of other events on Victoria’s website. As she so eloquently puts it: “My parents were populists who believed that everyone could live surrounded by beauty and share an elegant table filled with excellent food.” I say hear, hear!
The Treasury contains over 400 recipes, ranging from breakfast favourites such as Blueberry Muffins and French Toast Santa Fe, to delicious dinners of Dutch Green Pea Soup and Hotchpotch of Curly Kale. For Bibelot though, I propose this fail-safe recipe for shortbread. When I spotted a cookie cutter that stamps out the traditional shortbread lettering I had to get one. Mine is from the National Railway Museum Shop. However, if you fancy making a spookier batch, you could get yourself some Halloween cookie cutters!
Scotch Shortbread – makes 48 cookies
1. Sift ½ cup confectioners (icing) sugar.
2. Beat 1 cup butter/margarine until it is as soft as the sugar.
3. Continue beating and gradually add the sugar.
4. When mixture is creamy and light, add 1 teaspoon vanilla.
5. Combine 2 cups cake flour (plain flour is fine) ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon baking powder in a separate bowl.
6. Stir into the butter/margarine-sugar mixture, blending thoroughly.
7. Preheat the oven to moderate (350 degrees F / 180 degrees C / gas mark 4).
8. Chill the dough.
9. Roll dough to a ¼ inch thickness.
10. Cut into squares and prick the dough all over with a fork.
11. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and place squares on it.
12. Bake for around 20 minutes. Shortbread should just begin to colour.
Note: All ovens vary, so I would suggest baking a few shortbreads to test temperature and cooking time, rather than cooking a big batch all at once. I always have my oven at 160 degrees and keep an eye on them through the oven door!
These keep for a good few days in a sealed biscuit tin, if you can bear to keep your mitts of them!
Cruelty free list:
Dairy free margarine – We like Pure and Vitalite from health food shops and most supermarkets.
Most supermarkets now stock their own brands too!
Eating and drinking like the stars of yesteryear…
For more famous foodie delights, visit Jenny’s blog