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You probably know Vincent Price from his work in horror films, but the actor was also a serious food lover.
Even if you aren’t an old-Hollywood aficionado, you probably know Vincent Price. He’s the voice of horror, demonstrated by his appearance in movies such as House on Haunted Hill, The Tingler, House of Wax, The Last Man on Earth and, of course, his monologue and haunting laugh in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video.
But even the folks over at TCM might not know that Price was also a serious food lover. In fact, he was so enthralled with dining out and cooking that he wrote a cookbook called A Treasury of Great Recipes with his second wife, Mary. Published in 1965, the book features stories from the couple’s travels as well as family recipes.
One of Price’s biggest fans—in terms of both his acting and culinary work—is chef Francesco Palmieri of New Jersey’s The Orange Squirrel. For the past two Halloween seasons, he and his wife, Elaine (a makeup artist and fellow horror enthusiast), have hosted a Vincent Price dinner featuring recipes from Price’s book at their restaurant.
This year, on October 30—Halloween eve—they’re taking the dinner on the road to the James Beard House where Victoria Price, the daughter of Vincent and Mary Price, will join them. Palmieri will serve six dishes from the book, including endive-beet salad (from a recipe from Antoine’s in New Orleans), spinach lasagna (the recipe is from the Royal Danieli in Italy) and chocolate pot de crème, an original recipe of Vincent and Mary’s.
Palmieri needed more than just a few recipes to create a dinner worthy of Mr. Price. Here, five things the chef discovered about Price’s epicurean tendencies.
He played a part in the California wine industry. The James Beard dinner will also serve as a launch party for the Vincent Price Signature Wine Collection, a line of California wines that honor Price’s role as a California Wine Institute spokesman. The bottlings have labels inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe, one of Price’s favorite authors.
He had simple tastes. Even though Price traveled all over the world eating at some of the best restaurants, he still appreciated the simple things in life. “He truly enjoyed hot dogs and going to the ballpark,” Palmieri says.
He didn’t like ultra booze–forward cocktails. “Price didn’t like to assault the palate with heavy alcohol,” Palmieri says. Before the dinner, he’s serving the Waltzing with Vincent, a spritzy fall aperitif made with applejack brandy, apple cider, lemon juice, simple syrup and Prosecco.
His favorite beer was Negra Modelo. In honor of Price’s beer of choice, Brooklyn Brewery brewer Adam Young created an original beer in the style of Negra Modelo for the dinner.
He came from a food family. Price’s grandfather, Vincent Clarence Price, invented Dr. Price’s Baking Powder, which was the first cream of tartar on the market. His father, Vincent Leonard Price, was the president of the National Candy Company, once the largest candy company in America.