Hugh Simmers, III, thought his mother’s old-world cooking, which included time-honored classics such as Yorkshire pudding and standing rib roasts, would send him to an early grave.
Simmers made these allegations in a letter written to an unidentified recipient on December 30th, 1996. In it, he takes his mother, Mabel McCullen Simmers, to task for using butter to cook nearly everything and his Scottish father for insisting on desert after every meal.
“You may remember my Father’s family came from Scotland, and when I was young there were still three Aunts, and some Uncles to visit during the holidays. I vividly remember plum pudding being doused with brandy. Someone would dim the lights and set the pudding aflame. Burned blue and yellow. They used to put nickels and dimes into the pudding so the children would eat the whole thing for the loose change.
“We also had currant cakes and scotch shortbread. My family had the butter market cornered.
“Mother used to make bread pudding and rice puddings, (sometimes tapioca, and the big tapiocas please, not those little tiny ones), not for the holidays, but for after dinner every night. My father insisted on meat and potato dinners and then a desert. It’s no wonder that he died of a heart attack, and that I have high cholesterol levels.
“My mother used to buy meat from the butcher and put it through a press to squeeze out all the ‘juice,’ she’d salt and pepper it and tell me it ‘was good for me to drink.’ Absolutely barbaric! A diet for a Viking, not a little kid. I loved it. We did eat some vegetables though.
“I loved parsnips sauteed in butter. Actually, everything came cooked in butter, and we added more when served. Father even managed to provide some good food for us through the War because of his refrigeration business connections, and his relations with the people at the Rations Board.”
Hugh continued eating high-fat, high-calorie meals even after his parents died. In the letter he describes consuming a standing rib roast on Christmas Eve “with Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings. I finished that meal with a large piece of pecan pie with whipped cream. Christmas we had an egg and sausage quiche with sweet rolls, and apply strudel with hard sauce.
“On my birthday Jack served sliced filet mignon on, dropping with butter, garlic bread. Then we shared two birthday cakes. I particularly liked the one with hot fudge sauce. Various other meals have found me seated in front of all the good things in life, even a 2-1/2 pound Maine lobster (he came with an extra claw, as one woman didn’t like lobster (amazing). There have also been business parities with 6′ wedges and potato salad, a special weakness for me.”