Sup with the Devil: Occult writer Dennis Wheatley’s recipes for Nectarine Gin and Bloody Mary
12:07 pm

Dennis Wheatley was the eldest of three children born into a prosperous middle-class family in 1897. His father was a successful wine merchant based in Mayfair, London. After serving in the First World War, where he was gassed in a chlorine attack during the battle of Passchendaele, Wheatley joined the family business in 1919. He proved highly successful as a vintner.

He sold liqueurs and ultra-rare brandies, and at its peak the business counted not only the Duke of York (later King George VI) but a total of ‘three Kings, twenty-one Imperial, Royal and Serene Highnesses, twelve British Ducal Houses, the Archbishop of Canterbury and a score of millionaires’ among its clientele.

The work allowed him to socialize with those of a higher standing, which gave Wheatley pretensions towards a more aristocratic lifestyle. However, in 1931 during the Great Depression, he was almost undone by near fraudulent activities which badly over-extended the family business. Facing near bankruptcy, Wheatley quickly sold the business. He then decided to write his way out of debt and possible financial ruin.

Wheatley’s first novel Three Inquisitive People was accepted by the publisher Hutchison but was not published until later in his career. The book introduced one of his most famous characters, the Duke de Richleau. He also presented his publishers with a second novel The Forbidden Territory which became his first published novel. This book brought him instant success and was reprinted seven times during its first seven weeks in 1933.

The following year, he wrote The Devil Rides Out, which cleverly mixed the crime thriller with a story of the occult. Wheatley had read extensively about esoteric beliefs and various occult practices but relied on contacts he met through the politician Tom Driberg like Aleister Crowley, the Reverend Montague Summers, and Rollo Ahmed, to bring his knowledge up to date.

The Devil Rides Out was hailed as “the best thing of its kind since Dracula” and firmly established Wheatley as the “#1 thriller writer.” Since its publication, The Devil Rides Out has never been out of print and was made into a highly successful movie with Christopher Lee as Richleau and Charles Gray as the Crowley-inspired Mocata in 1968.

Over the next forty years, Wheatley wrote 65 novels and sold an estimated 70 million books. His tremendous success allowed him to cultivate the image of the distinguished gentleman he had long desired. To some, like the novelist Anthony Powell, this image seemed at odds to some of the “conscious drivel” Wheatley produced as a writer. His books mixed far-fetched comic book adventures with utterly gripping plotlines. Though his work was sometimes denounced for its ridiculous characters and racist stereotypes, Wheatley was often sought out by writers like Powell to give advice on plot structure and narrative.
That ole devil himself: Wheatley with his books and his war medals. (Photo by Alan Warren).
Despite a reputation for writing racy occult novels like The Devil Rides Out, To the Devil a Daughter, and The Satanist, and to an extent some of his more crackpot right-wing ideas (like a belief of an inevitable Communist revolution in swinging sixties England), Wheatley had a taste for the finer things in life. He kept an impressive library of books (mainly classics and works of non-fiction) and a well-stocked cellar of wine. His knowledge of the drinks trade led to him being commissioned to write The Seven Ages of Justerini’s, a history of the respected wine merchants Justerini & Brooks in 1949. This book included recipes for some of Wheatley’s favorite cocktails like this one for Nectarine Gin, which is an overly sweet recipe as “Wheatley had a notoriously sweet tooth and liked to serve it to as an after-dinner liqueur at Grove Place, his country house in Lymington, Hampshire.”:

Nectarine Gin

Prick your Nectarines all over with a fork and put them in an open vessel. Pour upon them as much Gin as will cover the fruit, and add a quarter-of-a-pound of soft white sugar with each quart of Gin. Cover the vessel with a cheesecloth and leave to stand, Give the contents a stir twice or thrice in the next forty-eight hours, then strain off the liquor and bottle it.

He also had one for a “meaty” Bloody Mary:

Dennis Wheatley’s Bloody Mary

One nip Tomato Juice, one Sherry glass Vodka-Smirnoff, one Sherry glass Campbells Beef Bouillon, one nip Worcester Sauce, half glass- Lime or Lemon- fresh, ice- shake until froth appears- serve.

I know what I’ll be drinking tonight while reading The Devil and All His Works.
Via the Greasy Spoon.

Posted by Paul Gallagher
12:07 pm
Retro recipes from Johnny Cash, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Boris Karloff & more!

Johnny Cash is all of us this holiday season. Drunk, hiding in the bushes and eating cake.
On average, people gain anywhere between seven to ten pounds over the holiday season. The annual feeding frenzy is now in full swing ready to send our cholesterol into outer space while we simultaneously pour all kinds of delicious booze all over our livers. While I love pie and bourbon just as much as anyone else, I also like to cook so I thought it would be fun to share some fun celebrity recipes from yesteryear.

Most of the recipes below were published in the 1978 charity cookbook, Habilitat’s Celebrity Cookbook, 1930’s What Actors Eat When They Eat, and 1981’s Celebrity Cookbook. I’ve included a nice selection of recipes shared by icons such as Cary Grant’s barbequed chicken, Boris Karloff’s guacamole (which calls for sherry mind you), and Johnny Cash’s “Old Iron Pot” family style chili. The majority of the recipes are of the traditional variety—such as beef stew and meatloaf, though there are a few curve balls. Like Bette Davis’ “Mustard Gelatin Ring” which sounds about as appetizing as the rat she served to Joan Crawford in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), and actress Bea Arthur’s fancy-sounding “Avocado with Jellied Madrilene.” For those of you who lack Arthur’s gastronomical refinement, madrilene is a cold tomato consommé. Check them all out below!



Many more after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb
02:00 pm
Abbie Hoffman’s radical granola recipe
12:54 pm

Radical activist and opportunistic prankster Abbie Hoffman’s infamous 1971 opus Steal This Book is part political manifesto and part handbook on getting things for free. The lists of goods and services he and his comrades thought should be automatically free to everyone, such as medical care (including birth control and abortions), higher education, and food, all considered unthinkably outrageous 43 years ago, have been subsumed by more recent movements as perfectly normal expectations in an affluent society.

The rhetoric doesn’t sound quite so jarring, either, except for the occasional bit of vintage slang. This Hoffman quote could easily be taken from a Russell Brand monologue:

Dig the spirit of the struggle. Don’t get hung up on a sacrifice trip. Revolution is not about suicide, it is about life. With your fingers probe the holiness of your body and see that it was meant to live. Your body is just one in a mass of cuddly humanity. Become an internationalist and learn to respect all life. Make war on machines, and in particular the sterile machines of corporate death and the robots that guard them. The duty of a revolutionary is to make love and that means staying alive and free. That doesn’t allow for cop-outs. Smoking dope and hanging up Che’s picture is no more a commitment than drinking milk and collecting postage stamps. A revolution in consciousness is an empty high without a revolution in the distribution of power. We are not interested in the greening of Amerika except for the grass that will cover its grave.

Food insecurity is still a massive problem in the U.S. four decades later. Hoffman’s advice on finding, stealing, and scamming free food contains nothing that a poor college student, couponing single parent, “recession wife,” or unemployed person doesn’t already know: crash wedding receptions, bar mitzvahs, and conventions, ask for vegetables, bread, meat, and fish that are about to be thrown out at groceries, wholesalers, market stands, and restaurants (although I suspect most people would draw the line at asking for leavings at the local slaughterhouse), ask for “charitable” donations at canning factories, eat off other people’s plates at restaurants before tables are bussed, form a food co-op, and hustle from caterers. With ubiquitous security cameras in every chain grocery store, shoplifting food is much more of a challenge than it was back then. It may be easier to qualify for food stamp benefits now but food is astronomically more expensive.


The scams Hoffman outlines to get food from restaurants and food delivery people are clever but sometimes require props and costumes (a nun costume?). Of course, many of his ideas are obviously outdated (slugs for vending machines) or silly. He advises that you line your pockets with plastic bags before you load up on food to take home from buffets, especially fried chicken. However, it’s hard to imagine anyone today actually taking him at his trollish word and trying to pour coffee into a bag hidden in their pocket for later. Not when you can get free coffee at Half-Price Books or bank lobbies.

Hoffman included recipes for cheap food, including “Hedonists’ Delight,” which starts “Steal two lobsters,” and this one for granola, which would probably cost $100 in raw materials from Whole Foods:

Hog Farm Granola Breakfast (Road Hog Crispies)

½ cup millet

½ cup cracked wheat

½ cup buckwheat groats

½ cup wheat germ

½ cup sunflower seeds

¼ cup sesame seeds

2 tablespoons cornmeal

2 cups raw oats

1 cup rye flakes

1 cup dried fruits and/or nuts

3 tablespoons soy oil

1 cup honey

Boil the millet in a double boiler for ½ hour. Mix in a large bowl all the ingredients including the millet. The soy oil and honey should be heated in a saucepan over a low flame until bubbles form. Spread the cereal in a baking pan and cover with the honey syrup. Toast in oven until brown. Stir once or twice so that all the cereal will be toasted. Serve plain or with milk. Refrigerate portion not used in a covered container. Enough for ten to twenty people. Make lots and store for later meals. All these ingredients can be purchased at any health store in a variety of quantities. You can also get natural sugar if you need a sweetener. If bought and made in quantity, this fantastically healthy breakfast food will be cheaper than the brand name cellophane that passes for cereal.

Abbie making gefilte fish, below:

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright
12:54 pm