Friday, May 27, 2011

Dinner and a Movie: Vincentennial

Photos from A Treasury of Great Recipes

Inspired by Cinema St. Louis's "Vincentennial," I've decided to celebrate Vincent Price's 100th birthday by watching a lot of Vincent Price movies. I've also (naturally) added food to the mix by cooking out of A Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary and Vincent Price, or what we call "The Vincent Price Cookbook" at our house.  Sorry, Mary!  If you find a copy at a used bookstore or an estate sale, grab it.  It's a real cookbook (and a great one, at that), not just your average celebrity cookbook.  I've had mine for years, but I need to blog about it more!

The Food

Manicotti alla passetto

Quite possibly one of the most delicious things one could ever do with leftover roast chicken, Manicotti alla passetto is a favorite at our house.  We were even lucky enough to eat al fresco last night!  The salad dressing is from the back of the La Tourangelle walnut oil bottle: 4T walnut oil, 1T balsamic vinegar, 1t whole-grain Dijon mustard, salt to taste.  I usually just make half a recipe.

I also make a half recipe of the manicotti.  Our largest Le Creuset au gratin is large enough to hold all six manicotti.

Manicotti alla passetto

"In seventeenth-century England, George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham*, cut quite a figure as a courtier and playwright.  Perhaps he served these eggs at his after-theater parties--I like to think so.  In any event they bear his name and they are a perfect late snack for a midnight supper." 
-A Treasury of Great Recipes

Buckingham Eggs
Buckingham Eggs

This recipe is also available on
Download PDF and Print Recipe

The Films

I thought I'd narrow things down to the films that will air next month on Turner Classic Movies.  Several of Price's movies are available on Netflix Watch Instantly, as well (including one of my personal favorites, The Comedy of Terrors, costarring Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone).

DVD cover from Wikipedia
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (Monday, June 20th, at 3:00 p.m. CST) is one of the very few films with an Elizabethan setting I can stand to watch, despite its ahistorical elements.  I was the teaching assistant for OU's Tudor England course, which basically means that I can't enjoy either of the Elizabeth films or The Tudors.  Several semesters before I was a teaching assistant for Tudor England, I was a student.  Our professor mentioned this film in class and one of the students asked, "Bette Davis?  Like that song?"  There's one person in desperate need of a classic film intervention.  Bette Davis really is great as Elizabeth, but I don't watch this one very often because it makes me cry.

Vincent Price has a small role in this film (only his second feature film) as Sir Walter Raleigh.  The rest of the supporting cast is outstanding, as well, and includes Olivia de Havilland, Donald Crisp, Alan Hale, Henry Stephenson and Leo G. Carroll.
Poster from Wikipedia

The Las Vegas Story (Tuesday, June 21st, at 6:45 a.m. CST) stars Jane Russell as a former Las Vegas singer who is married to Vincent Price's character (a compulsive gambler) and Victor Mature as her ex-lover and current Las Vegas sheriff's deputy.  Hoagy Carmichael co-stars.  Murder, intrigue and a helicopter chase (featuring one of producer Howard Hughes's helicopters, of course) ensue.  Not the best movie ever (did you figure it would be?), but worth the watch.  Entertaining.

Poster from Wikipedia

His Kind of Woman (Tuesday, June 21st, at 11:15 a.m. CST) gives Vincent Price his best role of the three films.  Stick with this one; the last third of the film is worth the wait.  Price is a hunting-obsessed action-movie star Jane Russell is trying to land while on vacation in Mexico.  Robert Mitchum, paid by a mafioso to head south of the border, ends up at the same resort.  The first part of the film is pretty standard noir stuff, but everything changes when gangsters and the feds arrive and Price's character takes over all the action.  Great stuff.  Lots of Shakespeare-quoting.  Take a chance on this one--you'll be glad you did.


Portrait of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (from Wikipedia)

I wrote a paper for my Stuart England class about Roger Palmer, the husband of Buckingham's cousin Barbara.  Mrs. Palmer was the mistress of Charles II and remembered by Paul for having bit the penis off a corpse.  I had totally forgotten about it until Paul reminded me when I told him we were having a dinner named after George Villiers and I couldn't possibly tell you which biography the information came from (so many random facts pop up when doing historical research), but Paul said there's no way he could forget something that crazy.  She was one interesting broad.  

Sir Peter Lely's portrait of Barbara after she had become Duchess of Cleveland (from Wikipedia)


  1. Wow! Barbara - who knew?!!! That just made everthing else fly out of my head...

    Okay, love the Vincent Price cookbook (as you know). Love that we got your copy at the Library booksale right out from under the nose of some other people looking for it!

  2. we look at this honourable woman quite differently when we know about this anecdote. I am quite interested by the film His kind of woman ( I love R. Mitchum. oh and you have some very pretty blue plates.

  3. I remember that day in class! Dr. H had to say that yes, he knew the song, but no, he was not talking about the song. :)

    The food looks gorgeous! I'll give it a whirl and then update you on how it goes.

  4. Wow . . . I don't even know where to start . . . Very, very interesting post . . .
    Love the Vincent Price cookbook (wish I had a copy!); I think there is an amazing recipe for marjolaine in there . . .
    And wasn't Vincent Price in the noir film Laura?
    But, I agree, that anecdote about Barbara really pushes everything out of your mind.

  5. what a very good post. i enjoyed reading it very much.

  6. What a fun cookbook! You know, I have never heard of Vincent Price before (hangs head in shame). As always, love your old movie synopses - they don't make 'em like that anymore.

  7. I am so glad people are on board with the Vincentennial... still need to post some pics from our blow out. Love the food recipes you did! I finally broke down a couple months ago, realizing I might just never find a copy at a thrift store, and bought a reasonably priced used copy of that cookbook... isn't the commentary by VP as delicious as the food sounds? And your movie picks were tops. What a great post!

  8. Buckingham Eggs sound divine...some of my very favorite ingredients. I will have to keep my eyes open for the Vincent Price cookbook!

  9. Lauren, I am laughing out loud in my pyjamas here in London. First, the idea of having to stage a classic film intervention is superb! I know a few folk who need that. Secondly, bravo Barbara! That corpse sure must have done something mean to her in the beforelife!

    Your chicken and eggs look divine. I am sooooo hungry. Do you have a copy of the Beverly Hills Cookbook? It's audio cookery lessons (sort of) by the great man. Highly recommended, I think you would get a real kick out of it - Jx

  10. I LOVE the Vincent/Mary Price cookbook! He was such a delightful, witty, erudite, cultured man -- his interviews are even more entertaining than some of his films -- that his cookbooks are just as fun to read for pleasure as they are to put into practical use.

    I had dinner last night at one of my favorite restaurants, Le Veau d'Or, with a charming older couple I had met quite by chance at another restaurant -- we struck up a conversation, a friendship was born over cocktails, et voila!. Anyway, this couple started describing their favorite restaurant in France, and I realized through their description that I had read about it in A Treasury of Great Recipes, Restaurant de la Pyramide! Vincent and his legacy live on...

  11. I just want to say that I have the best readers ever! I learn so much from all of your comments, I love your anecdotes and I just love to hear from all of you.

    Laura- Vincent Price was in Laura (one of my favorites!). I'll look for the marjolaine recipe.

    Lisa & TJB- It's rare when a cookbook is so entertaining to read. I love getting to see the old menus, as well. Plus, Vincent Price's personality is really endearing.

    Lya- I will keep an eye out for the Beverly Hills Cookbook. It sounds awesome.

  12. Such an interesting post. Vincent Price is missed. Thanks for the cookbook recommendation - I hope to find a copy.

  13. Revving up to make Buckingham Eggs for my Saturday Spinster's Breakfast tomorrow.... eek!


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