11 September 2009

Famous Food Friday -- Vincent Price

Most people remember Vincent Price from his vocation as an actor. But, for some of us, he may be as well known for his avocation as a cook. With his wife, Mary, Price traveled the globe visiting the finest restaurants in the world. In 1965, they gathered recipes from many of their favorite restaurants as well as some favorite family recipes and created a notable cookbook.

A Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary and Vincent Price is a large, unmistakable tome in its padded leatherette cover.

In addition to the recipes, there are menus and photographs from many of the restaurants. One of the Price’s favorite haunts in Chicago was The Pump Room, founded in 1938, it is still going strong. When the Price's ate there, The Pump Room featured a plaque and a dessert bearing the name of the fabulous Gertrude Lawrence. Lawrence was in Chicago doing a play in 1938 and she went to The Pump Room every night of the 90-day run, firmly establishing its caché.

One of my favorite blogs, Little Augury, recently posted about the divine Miss Lawrence. Since she has been swirling in the air, it is fitting and proper that we feature a dish that was named after her. Price says of the dessert,
“the sauce is very much in the tradition of The Pump Room’s cuisine – it is an interesting combination of flavors, and it flames, almost a prerequisite for appearing on their menu."

Gertrude Lawrence in Vanity Fair

Coupe Gertrude Lawrence

Vanilla ice cream
Jamaican Rum
Semisweet Chocolate
Brown sugar


In a saucepan put: 4 squares semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces, 1 cup brown sugar, 2/3 cup cream, and a pinch of salt. Stir over low heat until chocolate is melted and sauce thickens. (Extra sauce will keep in a jar in refrigerator for several weeks.)


Put: a scoop of vanilla ice cream into each of four bowls or coupe glasses. In a chafing dish put: 3 tablespoons grated orange rind. Stir in pan to heat, then add: 4 tablespoons Jamaican Rum and ignite. While flame is burning add 4 tablespoons of the chocolate sauce. Pour over ice cream and serve.

If you missed Gertrude Lawrence's 1938 performance on the stage, don't despair. Here is a little snippet of what she sounded like.

Someone To Watch Over Me -- Gertrude Lawrence.

Vincent Price was also an innovator by recording a “cookbook” Here is one of his recipes.

Viennese Stuffed Eggs -- Vincent Price

As unusual, our Famous Food Friday post was stolen by Cookbook Of The Day.

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