The creepy joy of cooking with Vincent Price.

What to eat. What not to eat.
Aug. 20 2008 10:21 AM

I'll Have the Banana Pancake Flambé Stonehenge

The creepy joy of cooking with Vincent Price.

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After a day of Price cuisine, I'll admit I was left with a nagging question that cookbooks rarely produce: Where's the horror? Where's the Vincent Price in this Vincent Price cookbook? Beyond a pressed duck worthy of the "The Pit and the Pendulum"—it involves, if you must know, pressing a duck—the Treasury gives off a luridly convivial glow. Like Price reciting from Edgar Allan Poe, * I'm afraid that for really horrifying stuff you must resort to reading the Victorians. My personal favorite, What To Do With Cold Mutton (1867), includes such recipes as Green Pea Soup Without Peas and a hashed calf's head that instructs: "Dish your hash nicely, and garnish round the edge with brain-cakes."

Brain-cakes, dear reader: Imagine crab cakes, but made with brains. Now there's your Vincent Price recipe.

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Correction, Sept. 11, 2008: This article originally misspelled Edgar Allan Poe and Fannie Famer. (Return to the corrected sentences.)

Paul Collins teaches creative writing at Portland State University, and his latest book is The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars. Follow him on Twitter.