Biographical information on Angus Scrimm has often mentioned that the man was an outstanding chef who possessed an appreciation for great food, but little has ever been said on the subject. Fortunately for us, Phantasm series crewmember and longtime Scrimm personal friend Kristen Deem has stepped forward with a different kind of remembrance.... one that includes two of his actual recipes!
Kristen writes, "Angus Scrimm was many things to many people; an iconic screen legend, a brilliant journalist and award winning liner note writer, a warm, intelligent gentleman who made each fan feel they were the most important person in his life. His genial persona and encyclopedic mind will be forever remembered.
In private he was Rory Guy, a humble, soft-spoken, self-deprecating man with a sabre wit. He strolled his suburban neighborhood streets at dusk with a white dog—or three—always in tow.
Foremost in his mind was the evening meal. “Kristen, what can I get you to eat?” He was a master of words. “Getting me” to eat vegetables was his life mission and a topic he sternly teased me about each visit. Of my past, he always recalled my starving student days in Austria when I subsisted on boiled carrots. In a Christmas greeting to my mother he proudly teased, “Kristen was a good girl and ate alllllll her carrots!”
For Rory food was love.
He would serve everyone’s portions and I always looked down to find my dinner plate entirely covered with broccoli. “But there’s no room for the main course!” I would plead. I would look up into the glowering visage of the Tall Man, left eyebrow severely arched, and he would stare down and growl, “Eat your vegetables, Deem!” I did. One did not argue with the Tall Man.
Phone calls with friends often involved food. I remember him chatting amiably with legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman. Their exchanged recipe instantly became that night’s tasty meal.
During numerous trips to the local grocery store the first aisle Rory gravitated to was produce. He would linger there, carefully testing the fragrance and textures, honing in on the freshest fare. His father had been a grocer back during the depression and I could see the impact Alfred Guy had had on his young son. At home, the care Rory lavished on meals and cleaning the stove hinted at his boyhood working alongside his mother, Pearl May Guy, at a hospital kitchen. In the seventies through the nineties, Rory became caregiver to his mother and later his eldest sister, and this was when he shouldered the role of family cook.
There was a reverence in the way he planned the meals. He was a masterful self-taught cook. He was expert at Thai food as so many of his family had included Thai students over the years. He loved to experiment, always mindful of each guest’s personal tastes. The chicken paprika he prepared for me one night was truly the most perfect meal I’d ever savored. As he could bake the most tender, juiciest chicken, I would beg for this every time, and he would give a soft chuckle and wry shake of his head.
I will fondly miss my talented friend. I take comfort in the adage “you are what you eat” because he cared enough to make me the person I am today. To honor Angus Scrimm, I’d like to share two of his personal recipes. Cook them in remembrance of our beloved “Tall Man.”
And don’t forget the vegetables!"
July 25, 1981
“My first entirely successful fried chicken was my own improv without recipe; The bird itself was not a large one; small enough that I left leg and thigh attached.
Dipped it in milk. Sprinkled it with salt, pepper, and alternate pieces with onion or garlic powder. Rolled it in yellow corn meal.
Fried it under an hour at medium-to-lowish heat in iron skillet in a mixture of about 2 TBL, dollop bacon fat and liberal Wesson Oil to about 1/3 to 1/2 inch.
Did not EVER put lid on skillet. Cooked it entirely with lid off.
Flavorful, juicy, tender, excellent coating (or crust)."
May 20, 1991
2 lbs. ground white turkey
2/3 cup sourdough bread crumbs
1/3 cup oatmeal
Kernels from 1/2 ear corn
1/3 pkg. frozen peas (do not defrost)
1 level TBL chicken soap granules
4 oz. tomato sauce
1/3 can Swanson’s chicken broth
2 oz. swiss cheese in tiny dice
1 small jar button mushrooms whole
5 fat cloves garlic finely diced
Generous sprinkling coarse ground pepper
1 TBL sugar
Generous sprinkling garlic powder
2 heaping tsp. horse radish
1 egg beaten
Mix and mold into loaf in loaf pan.
Sprinkle top with grated parmesan and poppy seeds.
Bake 1 hour 45 minutes at 375 F.
“This was the most delicious meat loaf I’ve ever made, concocted from frozen ground turkey, odds and ends on the shelf and leftovers from fridge.”
Mix together remaining 2/3 cans cream of chicken soup and chicken broth as gravy for the meat loaf and mashed potatoes.
“Cooked carrots and tossed salad made good accompaniments.”