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Tenacious Eats, the full contact dining (and cinematic) experience will be showing the Vincent Price classic Theatre of Blood on Saturday, Oct. 10 at St. Louis Banquet Center (5700 Leona). Chef Liz Schuster will create five courses inspired by recipes from the newly re-released Mary & Vincent Price cult classic cookbook. Also on hand will be Price's daughter, Victoria, who will share anecdotes and sell copies of the 50th anniversary cookbook as well as copies of her own autobiography.
 
#Boom recently caught up with the out designer, art consultant, author, public speaker and Hollywood daughter to chat about the event, her famous father and more. 
 
What inspired you to revisit your parents' cookbook and what has the response been as you travel the country promoting the project at events like Tenacious Eats?
 
It's really a cool thing because the cookbook was groundbreaking when it came out. It sold 300,000 copies, it went on to become a cult classic, it became the eighth most popular out-of-print  book of all time. So we knew that there was a lot of love for this book. 
 
What we wanted to do was re-release it, but of course, that's expensive and difficult - and fortunately, Dover Press came to me and said we would like to do this with you and so we did. I wrote a new forward for the book that kind ofMVPAuthorPic contextualizes the book, not only mid-century, but why people love it so much and its popularity. From there, Wolfgang Puck wrote an intro, some wonderful people in the food world wrote some very nice blurbs for it, and now there's been so much interest in it that I'm now on the road taking the book and introducing it to new audiences and helping old audiences reconnect with it. A lot of people who had a copy of the book and no longer have it and are wanting it. It really is a beautiful, beautiful book and a classic in American culinary history.  
 
Your father was nothing if not a Renaissance Man and we know that you inherited his love of art. Did you inherit his love of cooking? 
 
[Laughs] That's not quite as obvious a thing for me. I'm a very finicky and picky eater and I always have been - I think I was the bane of their existence in that result. I love to eat, I love food experiences, but what I really fell in love with in the book is their philosophy. They really were about experiencing life to the fullest, and that really is where I fell in love with wanting to promote it.
 
We've now become a foody culture and my dad was probably the original American foody. But we've become a foody culture and what has happened as a result is that I think like  lots of things there have become these "shoulds" around food. You know, a bucket list because I have to eat at this place before I die.  (As opposed to just jumping into the enthusiasm of an adventure wherever you find it.)  For my dad, eating the best taquito at a Los Angeles car wash was just as good as going to [a five star restaurant]. It was not about pretentious eating, it was about delicious food and an incredible experience and ambiance. And so that is very much what I'm promoting is the whole experience of it - the food, the sharing of the food, the celebration of life, and the fun of having an adventure. 
 
This book was co-authored with your mother. Could you talk about her for a bit?  I imagine in interviews she sort of gets overshadowed.
 
Absolutely. I believe that the life that the book has had, the longevity that the book has had,  is very, very much due to her design and her vision. She came into life as an adult as a Broadway costume designer and to be a successful Broadway costume designer you have to very much sort of see a show as a whole. You couldn't do a Broadway show set in Rome in the 1960s and have somebody come in wearing 1980s clothes, right? So she made sure that the book was consistent in its beauty, in its design, and in keeping that philosophy. Somebody came to them and said, 'why don't you do a whole roast pig?' And she looked and them and said, 'we would never roast a whole pig in our back yard. So - no, we're not doing that. This has to be true to us.'
 
My parents had such an extraordinary view of the world. Most of the things that my dad did that really have lasted and have had great meaning came from my mother's influence. My dad said that at the end of his life - 'your mother was my biggest promoter and supporter' - she got him. She was always five years ahead of her time and she was very irritating when I was a kid. There I was alongside the other kids and there's my mother dressing me very avante garde. I was always really ahead of the curve and I feel that is why the book has lasted because she saw it more as just a record of the time that was for that time but something that would last forever. Somebody said to me that the book has the imprimatur of a Family Bible - and you know it does - in its design, it really does.
 
VP LogoYour father was born in St. Louis. What can you tell us about his time here and did he keep ties with the area after he left?
 
Yes, he was born and raised in St. Louis, he loved St. Louis. In my childhood, I thought people from St. Louis must be a part of this weird club  because they all seem to know each other, and I would always think that was a bit strange. They would greet each other and say here we are together and we're all from St. Louis! I grew up in Hollywood where lots of people were from different places and nobody from Peoria greeted themselves  the same way. People from St. Louis - the ones that my dad met - seemed to have a real connection to it and love of it. So, for me, that was really fun to see and to see how much he absolutely loved his home town. 
 
Speaking of growing up in Hollywood - what was that like? When did you first realize you were from a famous family?
 
People often ask me  what was it like growing up with a famous father and what I'll tell you is that my dad was so different than any other grown ups  I knew that I really didn't understand people treated him any different because he was famous. He was somebody [who] when he walked into a room it was like the cieling blew off and the sun just shone through. He just had this huge, bright light  which he took through the world and that's what people were responding to and it's certainly what I was responding to. More and more recently I've really come to recognize that I think the universe gave my dad fame because it was one of the platforms big enough to hold him, and also because he was somebody who knew how to use his celebrity to give back.
 
So my parents were very, very strict. I was not allowed to watch TV very much and I never saw a Saturday morning cartoon. In fact, one time I got to meet Mel Blanc who was the voice of almost every major cartoon character (Bugs Bunny and all the characters) and he was doing all these voices for me and I had no idea who they were. I'd never seen a Bugs Bunny cartoon - and I'm sitting at his desk and he had one of those notepads that said "From the Desk of Mel Blanc" - and around it I could see all these cartoon characters.  I was trying to read upside down on this memo pad and say well maybe this one's Porky Pig, but I had no idea. My parents really kept me out of that Hollywood spotlight so I really had a very normal childhood and I'm very, very grateful for that.
 
In retrospect, I can see it was extraordinary and very different from other children but they did not let me see that growing up. They wanted me to feel like I was somebody who could fit in and be anywhere, and as a result, I think I am that person. I sometimes feel like it was all a dream - that I didn't really grow up in a 9,000 square foot house in Hollywood Hills with all these rooms and know all these movies stars. Because it feels so far from the philosophy in which they raised me which was to be just a person who loved being alive in the world. 
 
What's your favorite film of your fathers?VictoriaPrice
 
I loved the films from the 1940s. I loved Laura, I loved Dragonwyck - I love all those films from before I knew him.  I love Edward Scissorhands, of course, because that is the man I knew and that sweetness - that deep sweeteness that was in him that you see and that I love. But I do feel like it's the earlier movies that I like the best. 
 
The legacy of Vincent Price has been a passion project of yours. What has been the biggest misconception about your dad that you've had to address.
 
People are always asking if my dad was scary. Oh, golly, he was the least scariest person you'd ever meet on the planet. He was just so full of love and life and joy. So I think for me, probably, that's the biggest misconception - that to play somebody scary you have to be somebody scary. In fact, I think that's one of the reasons that my dad and people like Boris Karloff have remained so popular. Because, I think, people are drawn to the horror films as a way of facing their fears and when you face your fears and you see it it's not as terrible as you think.
 
Yes, horrible things are happening on screen with my dad taking these people and dipping them in wax and killing them. But you're kind of rooting for him because he's been so screwed over. And they know those are real people being dipped in wax, but you want him to win. In a funny way, I think his goodness and his light showed through his characters and it gave people a way of dealing with the horrors of their own lives. I think that's one of the reasons he was so successful. 
 
Tickets for Tenacious Eats Presents "Theatre of Blood" with Special Guest Victoria Price can be ordered via www.BrownPaperTickets.com - use promo code "Poodle Pie" for a special discount. 
  

Stay tuned for #Boom's expanded exclusive with Victoria Price where she talks coming out to her famous father and goes on record about Vincent Price's sexual orientation.  

 

 

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