Halloween this year was full of retro fun. We had a giant virtual party with Vincent Price in the starring role — all the recipes were his, the entertainment starred him, and he’s even part of the event logo!
Jenny, of Silver Screen Suppers, invited a number of bloggers to join her in cooking some of Vincent Price’s recipes for Halloween this year. We were each given recipes, and we all watched House on Haunted Hill. Thankfully Vincent was a pretty darn good cook in addition to being a pretty darn spooky actor, so both the movie and the food were eagerly anticipated.
Every participant got the same Bloody Mary and Pumpkin Pie recipe, and Retro Recipe Attempts got asked to make Melon Monsters! Let’s start off with the first two, and save the unique one for last…
1. In a large pitcher mix: 6 jiggers vodka, 6 drops Tabasco, 6 dashes Worcestershire sauce, 6 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, 1/4 teaspoon monosodium glutamate, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 2 medium cans vegetable juice.
2. Stir well and pour into glasses over ice. Note: Our Bloody Marys are hot and sweet-sour and they show their fist!
I actually know a place to buy MSG, but kept forgetting about it until we were making the Bloody Marys. So we decided to go without it. While the glutamate should give the drink a bit more rich, meaty flavor, there’s also plenty of it in tomatoes themselves (and thus the V8).
Speaking of V8, Buzz had never drunk V8 in his life. He’d had tomato juice occasionally (usually during previous retro recipe attempts), but never the mixed vegetable concoction known as V8. And neither of us had ever had a Bloody Mary, so we may not the be most erudite judge of this drink.
We mixed the vegetable juice and the vodka, along with the various flavoring ingredients. It turns out that 6 jiggers is 9 fluid ounces — that’s a whole lotta vodka to go with just two cans of V8.
So we mixed well and poured out the first two servings, over ice. There was some debate about what should be used to garnish the drinks; traditional celery and pickled okra were both suggested. Buzz prepared a celery spear and lifted his glass to his lips.
Said Buzz: “This is possibly the worst thing I have ever drunk.” The mixed vegetable flavor wasn’t appealing, and the vodka it was mixed with was far too strong. The aftertaste was an indescribable mixture of salt, Worcestershire, and pepper that reminded me of old leather shoes.
We both agreed that it was fair for each of us to finish our glasses. Buzz decided to swig his glass as quickly as possible to get it over with, then drank about a pint of water. I just slowly sipped and ignored the aftertaste. Then the remainder of the pitcher went straight down the sink, before one of us started thinking, “Hey, maybe it wasn’t really that bad. I should try some more.” It certainly did pack a punch…
But moving on! We also made Vincent Price’s Pumpkin Pie, from his Come into the Kitchen Cook Book.
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell
1 1/2 cups canned or mashed cooked pumpkin
3 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Make the pie shell with a high scalloped edge, refrigerate several hours. Preheat the oven to 425° F. In a large bowl (with a pouring lip if you have one) combine the pumpkin with the eggs, then the cream, sugar, salt, and spices. Blend well, then pour into the chilled pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes, then raise the heat to 350° F. before serving. Makes about 8 servings.
The nutmeg and mace balance reminded me very much of eggnog! This is a very custard-like version of pumpkin pie, which isn’t what I’m used to, but it was sweet and delicious.
Drumroll, please… Our primary recipe comes from Vincent Price’s 1971 cookbook, Cooking Price-Wise. And it’s freakin’ adorable.
5 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. Derby cheese, grated
3 tablespoons Mayonnaise to thin
1 tablespoon sherry
Mix ingredients together until of a ‘dip’ consistency. Any suitable ingredient may be added, e.g. fried bacon, chives, prawns. Sprinkle with paprika pepper. Serve surrounded by celery, carrot, etc.
It’s not terribly easy to find Derby cheese, unless you’re willing to settle for Sage Derby. Which, sure, why not.
All this gets mashed together in a bowl. (I love easy prep, don’t you?)
And to be slightly more seasonal, we decided to use a cute little yellow squash instead of a yellow melon as the serving bowl.
The kids did the decoration — olive eyeballs, onion nose, pickles and pimentos stuck around… Utterly adorable, no?
And this tasted amazing! I don’t make cheese dips very often, but if this is what they’re like, that’s going to change. The Derby Sage cheese was delicious, the sherry gave it a slight kick, and then when we added some bacon chunks — WELL. Good job, Mr. Price.
Now imagine all this food and fun plus a terrific classic terror movie. Our daughter, nine years old, decided she wanted to be brave and grown-up and watch it with us. She scoffed when I said it might be scary. And to her credit, she made it about halfway through before deciding she was going to have nightmares and she needed to leave! (She didn’t have any nightmares, in the end — and I’m quite pleased that she was able to enjoy a classic, especially Vincent Price’s excellent screen presence… without which, frankly, this film wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun!) It’s a great film, and you can find it for free on Archive.org!
If you found these recipes interesting and entertaining, take a look at what our fellow party guests cooked up!
The Vincent Price Halloween Cookalong was organized by Jenny of Silver Screen Suppers, who also provided all the recipes sampled herein. Melon Monsters and Cucumber Crocodiles are from Cooking Price-Wise, Bloody Mary is from A Treasury of Great Recipes, and Pumpkin Pie is from Come into the Kitchen Cook Book. Thanks for organizing this, Jenny, we had fun!