Anton LaVey was a “fry cook.”


Anton LaVey was a “fry cook.”


In truth, while Anton LaVey had many skills, cooking was not something he practiced either personally or professionally. We suspect this misperception has arisen because of someone’s muddled recollection of a tale at times told by LaVey to his visitors, or from a tongue-in-cheek article he wrote and published in The Cloven Hoof, Issue 128, wherein he weaves a "shaggy dog story." This excerpt from a forthcoming essay by Magus Gilmore discussing LaVey’s prankish nature, titled “In All Seriousness…,” recounts his hearing of this humorous story from LaVey himself.

Dr. LaVey perceived the “occult movement” of the 1960s to be a hotbed of mysticism and pretentiousness. He offered a religious platform incorporating reason and skepticism, but, because of that current societal inclination, some of those seekers were attracted to Satanism as they felt it was yet another form of occultism, one with a spookier aesthetic. Contrarily, LaVey felt he had created an antidote to the likes of Wicca, Rosicrucianism, and the writings of sundry poobahs of the paranormal, not just a similar philosophy with darker trappings. Hence he was a bit nettled by those who misperceived his intentions. During one of our lengthy evening discussions while Peggy and I were visiting his Black House, Dr. LaVey recounted a time wherein he pulled the legs of some of those pompous postulants.

During one of our [discussions]. Dr. LaVey recounted a time wherein he pulled the legs of [pompous postulants].”

As we know, LaVey gave lectures to supplement his income which were based on his research, as well as experience, regarding outré topics. At the time, his talks were often revelatory, as he had done his time reading in libraries, collecting and absorbing the contents of unusual books, as well as having sought out individuals with unique life experiences to tap into what they had learned through their journeys. On one such eagerly anticipated evening, Doktor said he was going to present a particularly erudite practitioner of an occult art as a guest speaker, and that he was certain his audience would find much wisdom from this sage. Of course, the folks seated in the folding chairs in the chill, sunless environs of the ritual chamber were prepared to receive mysterious, hidden truths. The fellow who then spoke was in fact a man who worked at a restaurant which LaVey frequented, a “fry cook” who had developed what he considered to be the method for preparing what he called “the very best hamboogers.” The man was indeed obsessed with his culinary practice, and, in rhapsodic, though crude, lingo he elucidated his listeners, detailing his methods for keeping the griddle properly prepared, and the patties at the perfect size and thickness, flipped with precise timing to flawlessly produce that rare commodity—a perfect “hambooger.” Doktor LaVey himself attested to their excellence, which was why he often went to partake of this cook’s efforts.

Now, of course, there were a few present who quickly understood that their legs were being pulled, and they happily listened and gleaned what they could from the loquacious culinary exposition, but the majority were horrified and felt that Anton LaVey must be some sort of abysmal fraud for charging them to hear what they assumed would be an exploration of deep universal principles when all they learned (if they actually listened and didn’t turn off their attention in revulsion) was how to cook a tasty meal. Those who wanted the secrets of the cosmos left in a state of annoyed disappointment, thinking that LaVey was truly a charlatan, as some self-righteous “occultniks” of the time had claimed in their opposition to the success of the Church of Satan. Yet the perceptive attendees actually understood that what they experienced was both a prank, AND a learning experience. Might one define deft cookery as a form of magical mastery? Why, yes, that could very well be the ultimate point of the talk. While Doktor was never one to spend time over a hot stove—being a fry cook or chef was not part of his employment history—he did enjoy food that was well prepared by those who had mastered the culinary arts, from the simplest diner fare to the most elaborate of international dishes. For Anton Szandor LaVey, the dining room was his gustatory ritual chamber, not the kitchen.

—Magus Peter H. Gilmore, from his essay “In All Seriousness…”

It is worth noting that Dr. LaVey was trying his hand at fiction and leg-pulling humor in his final years, much of it consisting of parodistic observations by denizens of a fictional town named Plotzville, who exhibit the foibles of the human species, observed by LaVey over his long life. In issues numbered 127 (1995) and 128 (1996) of The Cloven Hoof, he issued some tales from the regrettably-unfinished Plotzville novel and, much like when he had the "hambooger" cook speak at his meeting, this perplexed, confused, and vexed readers in a very similar way—an old plaisanterie in a new guise. Apropos, and in a nod-nod-wink-wink intentional re-invocation, he wrote a piece under the byline of "Antone LaVey" titled HASH HOUSE SECRETS REVEALED or THE HIGH PRIEST'S BEANERY GRIMOIRE. Here, he plays the role of that diner chef, whose enigmatic appearance LaVey continued to feel was one of his comedic triumphs, and in fact recreates what was spoken in the long-ago talk by that hash slinger. He tips his hat by using that byline, and he concludes the piece with an obviously concocted supportive "quote" by Benjamin Disraeli ("as quoted by Queen Victoria to the Viceroy of India"). Dr. LaVey was always being a "cosmic joy buzzer."



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