Introducing my First Edition, 1965 copy of Mary & Vincent Price‘s “A Treasury of Great Recipes“. I received this as a birthday gift back in 2008, and it is one of my prized possessions. I have yet to actually succeed in any of the recipes included in the cookbook, but Vincent Price and his wife were far better chefs than I.
The premise of the cookbook is that the Prices would visit their favorite restaurant in a certain country, and either copy or steal their menu. They include a copy of the restaurant’s original menu, and then get on with the recipes to recreate their fare. For Mexico, they chose The Rivoli.
As an example, the recipe for The Rivoli‘s recipe for Arroz Con Dulce:
- In saucepan combine: 1/2 cup rice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly for 15 minutes.
- While rice is cooking, open a large coconut by giving it sharp glancing blows with a hammer at opposite end from the eyes. Drain water from inside coconut and reserve. Remove flesh from shell. Peel and grate enough to measure 1 cup and set aside. Dice enough of the remaining coconut to measure 2 cups. Put into container of an electric blender. Add the coconut water and enough boiling water to make a total of 2 1/4 cups liquid. cover and blend on high speed for 1 minute. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing out as much of the coconut milk as is possible with the back of wooden spoon.
- Add to rice: 1/4 cup sugar, 2 cups of the coconut milk, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Cover and cook over simmering water for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
- In small saucepan combine: the shredded coconut, 1 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil and cook rapidly, for about 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has cooked into the coconut, being careful that it does not burn.
- Stir the candied coconut and 1/2 cup raisins into the rice pudding. Serve warm or chilled.
That was exhausting just to type out.
I feel that if I had someone in the kitchen who liked to cook as much as I do, then we could tackle these recipes with ease. Until then, I’ll just read of Vincent and Mary’s travels and favorite restaurants from around the world.
They also include short introductions to every dish, like this one for Chavez Ravine‘s Stuffed Frankfurters:
At the ballgame you have to take your frankfurter straight, but at other hot dog emporia in Los Angeles, the variety is infinite. Frankfurters have an affinity for so many different foods that you can combine them endlessly and come up with something different every time. This is an especially happy combination.
Read that in your best Vincent Price voice, please.
As well as the pithy stories about each recipe, the book also includes full page photos of Vincent and Mary enjoying the lifestyle; in their vast kitchen, entertaining guests in a grand dining hall, or, as seen above, enjoying wine on a train with friends.
Again, this book is one of my favorite gifts over the years. Even though I haven’t cooked a single dish from inside it’s pages, I love to read the stories behind the meals. Vincent Price is one of my favorite actors of all time, and having a first edition of his 47 year old cookbook means a lot to me.
Originally published back in my Tumblr days.