The Kitchen Item Vincent Price's Grandfather Invented

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While actor Vincent Price may be best known for his horror movies, his grandfather created one of the most helpful kitchen items of all time. Vincent Clarence Price came up with the first cream of tartar baking powder as a way to help his mother with her biscuits, according to St. Louis magazine. His mother liked to make biscuits, but didn't eat them because they were too hard to digest (via Vincent Price: A Daughter's Biography). Price experimented extensively, eventually discovering that a chemical byproduct of winemaking could be added to the biscuits to improve their overall quality and improve their digestibility. Scientifically speaking, cream of tartar is known as potassium hydrogen tartrate (via Taste of Home).

This was just a little creation that he whipped up in his spare time from working as a pharmacist and homeopathic doctor. But Price started to sell his invention door-to-door and later patented it. He joined forces with a banker named Charles R. Steele in the 1860s, and together they formed a company to manufacture Dr. Price's Cream Baking Powder. He went on to create other products, including flavored extracts and breakfast foods, and to write a series of successful cookbooks, according to "Cooking Price-Wise: A Culinary Legacy."

Vincent Price inherited a love of food

The Price family fortune, partly built on the success of his cream baking powder, was nearly wiped out in the Panic of 1893. Vincent Leonard Price, son of Vince Clarence Price and father of actor Vincent Price, left college to help out at home. He eventually helped turn things around for the family with a candy business known as the Pan Confection Company, according to Vincent Price: A Daughter's Biography. Vincent Leonard Price was so successful in the confection business that when his son Vincent was born, he was called the "Candy Kid" (via "Cooking Price-Wise: A Culinary Legacy").

Actor Vincent Price was no stranger to the kitchen himself. He and his second wife, Mary, published several cookbooks together. He hosted his own cooking show in 1971, "Cooking Price-Wise," which aired in Britain. Price put out an accompanying collection of recipes titled "Cooking Price-Wise: A Culinary Legacy." The book includes his grandfather's recipe for new and improved biscuits, if anyone wants to have a taste of the Price family's culinary history.