Cooking with Vincent and Talking with Victoria
Vincent Price’s daughter Victoria talks about life, food, and her famous dad.
To celebrate Dover’s republication of Vincent Price: Cooking Price-Wise, We caught up with Victoria Price (artist, writer, tour leader, daughter of Vincent Price, great-granddaughter of the inventor of baking powder — !!!! — and lover of life) recently to discuss Cooking Price-Wise, plus her own inspirational work.
Dover Publications: Your father’s voice in his cookbooks is warm and friendly. He encourages his readers to just go ahead and try this or that — nothing snobbish or intimidating at all.
VP: Cooking Price-Wise is very down home, but also more straightforward. The premise of the UK cookery show that inspired the book is that you can cook your way around the world using ingredients you can find at an supermarket or corner store. Now, of course, that is more true than ever. . .
As for intimidating, my dad was anything but a snob, and I think that was one of his greatest gifts. He was incredibly knowledgeable (a Yale and University of London educated scholar), but he never used his knowledge to make others feel stupid so he could feel smart. He was genuinely curious about the world, and encouraged others to be the same! He believed that if you are always curious, you will never be bored.
DP: Have you cooked your way through all three books? Any favorite recipes that you turn to again and again?
VP: I have barely cooked my way through ten whole recipes from any cookbook! I love to cook, but having wonderful cooks as parents, it has taken me a long time to recognize that. I was intimidated to cook, and so just learned how to make a few things well. I always jump on any opportunity to cook for my friends, but I don’t feel knowledgeable about so many things when it comes to cooking. That said, I am a past master at breakfasts!! So my favorite recipe from A Treasury of Great Recipes is the asparagus dish from Sardie’s. It is always delicious!
DP: What’s your earliest memory of cooking with your parents? And I assume meals at your home were quite a bit of fun. Do you have any anecdotes to share?
VP: My parents were often away, and so it was always a treat to have my dad home on weekends. On Sundays after church, he often made us his famous soufflé, which he paired with an incredible leafy green salad with garlic dressing. But Saturday mornings were my favorite because he taught me how to make pancakes, popovers, scrambled eggs, and other breakfast staples. It was our special time together, and I adored it. Which is probably why I still adore making breakfast so much!
DP: Thank you for sharing in previous interviews and articles about how hard it was to watch your dad in films, especially due to what always happened to his characters [note: Usually, Price’s characters died. Horribly]. Did he ever talk about what acting meant to him?
VP: From the time he was a little boy, my dad wanted to act. But he never was cast in high school or college. So when he was given the opportunity to act, he saw it as such a gift and a blessing. Acting allowed him to hone skills that gave him a chance to inhabit so many different kinds of experiences. He could live in the 1600s in Spain or in the future, he could be pure evil or a fanatical cult leader. He could learn about so many cultures by being an actor. But mostly he believed that an actor is a public servant — someone whose job it is to connect with and bring joy to his fans. He took this very, very seriously. He was always so grateful to his fans and always took the time to connect with them. My father LOVED people and so to be an actor allowed him to be the people person that he innately was.
DP: Although you spend a lot of time preserving and celebrating the legacy of your father, you also have a full schedule of your own as an inspirational speaker. Earlier this year you blogged about your life on the road and likened it to being “intentionally homeless.” Can you talk more about that?
Victoria Price: I had been living on the road up to 250 nights a year for work when the “opportunity” to become intentionally homeless arose in the spring of 2016. I found out that I had to leave my home of 2 1/2 years with two months notice, which panicked me at first. But gradually I realized this was an invitation to change some aspects of my life that I had been wanting to change for quite a while.
Being intentionally homeless is definitely an invitation to daily adventure. Some days I feel like it is the greatest gift ever, and some days I think I’m nuts. But I always experience something new, something that helps me grow as a person.
I used to be a huge planner, but actually being intentionally homeless is teaching me to plan less, to let opportunities arise, and to be present to right where I am, without thinking about where I am going next. I usually have a schedule of appearances and other work commitments laid out, but there are lots of empty days where I have no idea where I will be. . .and sometimes I just have to trust that the right thing will arise. That is always a challenge, but something always does, and I get to see amazing places and meet extraordinary people wherever I go as a result! And by extraordinary, I don’t mean “famous” or “special.” I mean that I just get to talk to people I meet at a gas station or a diner or on a plane. There are so many amazing people in the world, doing amazing things, and I love hearing their stories of how they are making our planet a better place simply by showing up to their own lives every single day.
DP: What’s it like to conduct your tours?
VP: Unlike tours where there is a leader providing information, these tours are about providing travelers with an opportunity to connect with one another and different cultural experiences in ways that enrich their lives. So we craft our tours around people’s interests and we encourage people to share their interests with one another. Our hope is that people will take the skills they develop of being open minded and open hearted toward other cultures and unusual experiences home with them, to enhance not only their daily lives, but also their connections to other cultures closer to home.
DP: Your photographs have a great joy to them. Could you talk a bit about your artistic philosophy.
VP: As I began photographing more seriously over the past seven years, it was all about learning to see. As we get older, most of us unconsciously become more myopic in our experience of the world. We think we know what we are looking at and what we feel about it, and so we don’t allow ourselves to have new experiences or develop new impressions of the world around us. So my deal with myself was to point and shoot without thinking and then later to look at the photographs I took to see what it is I see beneath my conscious mind.
I noticed that I was drawn to certain ways of seeing, certain subjects, certain palettes, and that allowed me to learn not only more about myself, but also more about what I value in the world.
Next year I am thinking about setting myself a new challenge by pushing myself outside of my comfort zone of finding joy in colors, in patterns, in people, in flowers, in beauty, in birds, in back roads and seeing what I learn doing that!
All creative practices give us the opportunity to expand our hearts and minds. What a gift!
Victoria Price has a new book, This Way of Being Lost: A Road Trip to My Truest Self, which will be released by Ixia Press in February 2018.