“Thanksgiving dinner at our house is eaten at our great round table set festively for the occasion. We serve from the buffet under a favorite painting that is – to put it mildly – modern. Better, we believe, than having an ancestor, real or purchased, peering over your shoulder at every mouthful.” Vincent Price

Mary Grant Price was a costume designer on Broadway – Vincent Price studied art and art history before becoming an actor in the 1930s – between them they had quite a gracious design-lifestyle-thing going on…

Under the Mission cross on the fireplace our houseman, Harry Mullen, ladles Café Brûlot for our guest. This enormous living room was Mary’s greatest challenge – like trying to make Grand Central cozy. After dinner coffee around the fireplace achieves an intimacy, thanks to the paintings and objects that are so personal a part of our lives.  “A Treasury of Great Recipes” by Mary and Vincent Price

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Thanksgiving dinner at our house is eaten at our great round table set festively for the occasion. We serve from the buffet under a favorite painting that is – to put it mildly – modern. Better, we believe, than having an ancestor, real or purchased, peering over your shoulder at every mouthful.  “A Treasury of Great Recipes” by Mary and Vincent Price

The art museum they endowed on the campus of East Los Angeles College: http://vincentpriceartmuseum.org/about/history/

22 comments

  1. Both rooms look like they work beautifully, but the dining room really does it for me. I’ve gone for a large round table too. It’s less intimate than rectangular, but it’s nice that everyone can see everyone.

  2. I loved both Vincent Price posts. ….Oh yes! And your post brought back a old memory. Want to hear a story?

    Now are you sitting down? Back in the mid 1970 fresh out of college and working in a restaurant in the Embarcadero Center here in SF called the Perfect Recipe guess who used to come in and sit in my section every time he was in town? YES Mr. Wonderful himself Vincent Price. He was the kindest most gracious gentleman I have ever met. The old P.R. as we called the restaurant was famous around town for it’s exotic (for those days) coffees and teas from around the world and served a light lunch for the Financial District crowd. Noting special so I have no IDEA why he like us so and kept coming back….maybe it was the Hot Pastrami sandwiches with melted provolone? Who knows?

    Well one day I was in the kitchen and this new waitress fresh off the Boeing from Arkansas comes rushing in flushed and flustered. “Oh my god OH MY GOD!” she fell against the refrigerators and slid down into a heap of quivering terror. “Vi…V…Vincent P…Pr…Price is at a table in my section. HE SCARES ME!”

    Well I was not having any of this. I pulled her to her feet … ran her over to the sink and splashed her face with dirty dishwater. (It was that or slap her and my mother didn’t raise me to hit a lady. No mater what)

    “He is NOT scary!” I fixed her with a look Medusa would have envied. “He is the sweetest man you will every wait on. GO OUT THERE AND SERVE HIM!”

    Half an our later she was singing his praises.
    “See honey,” I said “Actors are just folks like us…NOT who they play on the screen.”

    Today that old restaurant is now Theater Two of the Embarcadero Cinema where all the foreign films and Indies play. When I sit in theater two …sometimes I can still hear Vincent Price’s wonderful melodious laugh.

    • I am addled by sealant fumes on the kitchen floor — looks great, smells bad — but I had to let you know I LOVE that story. Mr. Price was so funny and cultured and into his community and teaching young people and that voice (you’re right!) he was the opposite of frightening! I gotta get out of here now. Hugs, V

      • Hugs sweetie … Later I will tell you about seeing “The Normal Heart” at ACT…and meeting one of the actors after. Sweet little story. Get out of the Kitchen and breath some AIR…or put on some perfume…LOL

  3. George Kaplan

    “The Inestimable Vincent Price” – your taste and judgement is, as ever, impeccable (no, they just can’t be pecc’d. Ouch). There’s a nice word-portrait of Vincent in a book entitled Dream Repairman (a memoir by a cutter). The author describes how Coral Browne and Vincent were like teenagers around each other; he also writes about visiting Mr Price in his home just before it was demolished. Still better is his tale of directing him (in one of the two films he directed. He was a better editor than director as even he concedes!) in Madhouse. The normally gentlemanly Vincent used wonderfully creative vulgar language to excoriate Milton Subotsky and get him off the set (admittedly calling Subotsky a word beginning with “C” – and I don’t mean “chum” – wasn’t the *most* creative or charming part, but he was vexed! Not a good idea to vex VP). However, after that wave of abuse had rolled back out to sea, Vincent apologized profusely to a young lady who was on the set. He also had a few choice words about Nicholson and Arkoff but I’ll protect your innocent ears from those. Mr Price seems to have had a combination of manners, politesse, wit, bawdiness, acridity, and sensitivity – I can identify with all of that needless to say. (Coral Browne of course had a *wicked* tongue ;))

  4. Now V
    The Dandy swears on his honour he hadn’t read this piece before making those comments about Mr Price being you cultured… but something does now ring a bell about his collecting contemporary art.
    And while we’re about it, what beautiful prose he (and/or Mary) write(s). Very unlike that inelegant sentence.
    Did they divorce eventually?
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

      • Dearest V
        They are the very best kind… we have a noble tradition of that style in British cookery writing.
        I’m sure you would enjoy Elizabeth David, if you haven;t done so already, and perhaps Sophie Grigson. Even early Nigella Lawson (“How to Eat”) is an excellent exercise in witing in this vein.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

      • Yes, love them both — and she’s American but the most wonderful books on life and travel and cooking — MFK Fisher — if you haven’t already read her 😉

      • Ooooh.
        Well I have stories of both, but of course am far too diplomatic to share. He smiles.
        I will look up MFK, and wonder whether you have read Jane Grigson? Or maybe the book that really did introduce French food to the British Plat du Jour by Patience Gray and Primrose Boyd.
        It’s published by Persephone a very wonderful house that specialises in recovering lost works, mainly by women, from the first half of the twentieth century. http://www.persephonebooks.co.uk/books/plats-du-jour/
        Oh and last thought, Alice Thomas Ellis’s instructive and amusing Fish, Flesh And Good Red Herring: A Gallimaufry.
        Is as fun a history of food and eating as one is ever likely to come across/
        ‘Tis all.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

      • So! Plat du Jour, located on winging its way to me, Alice Thomas Ellis… a little more tricky, but I’ll track it down. I love these sorts of books – thank you, Dandy. My sense of well being is always enhanced by a heft pile of books to dig into!

  5. George Kaplan

    Vincent and the Muppets! Yay! A match made in heaven 🙂 He was so good!
    As a – somewhat whacky – aside I was singing the Muppet Show theme to myself a couple of days ago after reading about the 1990 tribute to Jim Henson 🙂 Hey, who *doesn’t* like Kermit and the Great Gonzo?!

  6. What an interesting story from laniersmith.Great to preserve them in some written form. VP obviously had great eclectic taste also judging by the rooms.

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