It came with the washing machine.
A beautiful, ornately bound cookbook, authored by the Merchant of Menace himself, actor Vincent Price, along with his wife, Mary Price. It was the mid-1960s, and Price was in his horror heyday. Who knew he was also a gourmet?
But there it was when the new washer was delivered, tucked down next to the base of the agitator, part of a promotion at Sears, I think. It was a collection of recipes from around the world. The Prices were gastronomes as well as gourmets, and their illustrated cookbook overflows with personal anecdotes and bits of epicurean history.
Over the years, Mom cooked lots of the recipes from this book, scribbling little notes like, “Yummy,” and “Good!” on the page. I used only one recipe that I remember. Our family had recently discovered the joy of guacamole, and there, on page 213, was the recipe for same from Restaurant Rivoli in Mexico City.
As you can see from the photo, that page of the cookbook saw a lot of use over the years.
Not too long ago, Mom was going through stuff, trying to pare down her “things,” and decided to pass the Vincent Price cookbook on to me. It now holds a place of honor – not on our cookbook shelf but in the center of our sofa table in the living room. It’s a great conversation piece.
But – what a waste of a great cookbook, right? Time to crack that thing open (oh so carefully) and see if these recipes from the 1960s can please the 21st century palate. I’m pretty sure they will, because I still make that guacamole recipe today, more than 45 years later.
(based on the Vincent Price recipe)
3 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 or more garlic cloves, minced
1 Anaheim chile, finely chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped (best if peeled and seeded, but it’s not mandatory)
3 TBSP low-fat mayonnaise
1 tsp ground coriander (best to use whole seeds and mash them in a mortar)
dash of cayenne pepper
salt to taste
1. Mash peeled avocados with lemon juice.
2. Mix in everything else except tomatoes (you can puree at this point if you want it smooth).
3. Fold in tomatoes.