eclectic design inspiration

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Treasury of Great Recipes

You know that especially startling scene in the The Ring, when they flashback to the face of the teenaged girl who died in the beginning, and it's all squished and distorted and really messed up looking? So freakin creepy! But I'll admit I've never actually seen it... I always cover my eyes during that part, but I think I know how horrifying it is based on what my friends have told me.

"Wait... I was covering my eyes! What happened?!

But what did it look like?

Just like her face was all twisted and weird?

So what did it look like happened to her?"

I love horror movies, but I can be really annoying to watch them with. I tend to hover my hand in front of my face the whole time or look down at the corner of the TV and then watch the screen using my peripheral vision. But I'll still sit through the whole movie.

The earlier horror films are fun because the images aren't as saturated with special effects and the scare factor is usually pretty simple - think Night of the Living Dead. That was the first scary movie I remember seeing as a kid, and that opening scene in the cemetery still enters my mind when I find myself walking alone in a park and there is nobody else around. Car keys in hand? Yep.

So, if you are wondering, where in the world is this going and what do scary movies have to do with "style in the home?" Well here you go: Vincent Price, the guy above, was the king of horror films during the 1950s (House of Wax, House on Haunted Hill), and he also happened to write a spectacular cookbook with his wife Mary called "A Treasury of Great Recipes," (god I love that title!) published in 1965.

See...? We are switching gears completely.

The cookbook is something I happened to snatch up at an estate sale after I overheard two older ladies going on about how much they loved their own copies (strategy!), and boy am I glad that I did. Once I got home and did a little googling I realized it wasn't just some random cookbook. A copy in good condition can go for over $100 on Amazon. I got mine for $7. Boo yah!

A Treasury of Great Recipes in all its glory... and yes, it does resemble a bible.

A well-traveled couple, the Prices share in great detail all of their favorite experiences from restaurants around the world, including reprints of original menus, gorgeous color photos and chef recipes with their own personal notes added in. It provides a very personal look into their glamorous lifestyle during the 1960s - it's all very Mad Men. In fact, Sardi's is one of the restaurants featured in the book that also happens to be frequented by Don Draper (and all of his lovely ladies) during the same era! 

The recipes range from ten-minutes-easy to all-day-involved, 5 ingredients to 15 ingredients, Baked Bananas to Stuffed Crown Roast of Veal. So you've got your options. The first dinner I made from the book was a Chicken Breast with Champagne Sauce that turned out "simply divine" as my grandmother would say. It was ridiculously easy to make and so good to eat: sautee a couple of chicken breasts in butter, add cream and simmer, add champagne and eat! Bonus: the recipe only called for 1/4 c of champagne, so there was practically a whole bottle left to drink. See, I think about these things...

a random photo in the cookbook that I like... Woburn Abbey, Buckinghamshire, UK

And just to give you further reason to believe in this cookbook, here is part of a user's review online. This is for real, just copied and pasted from Amazon:

"From the moment I was introduced to "Vinnie" (as my family refers to him today), my love for gourmet cooking has grown and expanded. When I'm looking for a recipe to really impress dinner guests, it's always Vinnie that I choose from. He & I have been together since December of 1971 when Santa bought him for me. I wouldn't trade that experience, the adventure in gourmet dining that we've enjoyed for all these years, for anything." - Pat, Katy, TX

I mean seriously, if someone is crushing this hard, it's gotta be good... right? If you see this book, get it. You won't be disappointed.

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