Wayne Simmons and Rob Woods have the kind of life styles you would expect from guys who run a mattress company--fairly laid-back.
Simmons, 48, and Woods, 38, golf, fish, travel and cook together when they’re not running W. Simmons Mattress, the Cerritos-based company Simmons and his father founded more than 30 years ago.
Business takes the partners to some far-flung places, and they take advantage of their travels to indulge their pleasures. One major trip, for example, takes them close to the fabled Hilton Head golf resort in South Carolina several times a year.
It was on just such a trip to Georgia that they came upon the recipe they shared with Guys & Galleys--a low-country shrimp boil (“They call it a cookout; we call it a barbecue,” Simmons says).
It’s a dish that they and their families enjoy so much that Simmons has installed special outdoor burners with stands for 30-gallon pots at both his Anaheim Hills home and vacation house in Palm Desert. And they will go to extraordinary lengths for fresh ingredients, even flying to Mexico in Simmons’ private plane for the shrimp.
The dish is a combination of shrimp, new potatoes, pearl onions, sausage and corn on the cob, and “the only major difference in how they serve it and how we serve it is that we use plates and silverware,” Simmons says. “Down there, they just put a bunch of newspapers out on a table, dump the cooked food on them and just have at it.”
While Woods says he has cooked most of his life, Simmons took it up as a hobby only about 8 years ago. “And now, if a meal is cooked around my house, I cook it,” he says. He and wife Abby eat out a lot now that their three children are grown and out of the house. “It’s hard to cook for just two people.”
Woods also does most of the cooking at home, but his situation is different in that his three children are still in their teens “and a lot of eating goes on.” When he and his wife, Melva, entertain, “we generally barbecue,” he says. “The beauty of a dish like this shrimp boil is that it frees you to spend time with your guests.”
SIMMONS & WOODS’ SAVANNAH-STYLE SHRIMP BOIL
5 dozen large shrimp, raw with heads removed
2 dozen small new potatoes
2 pounds pearl onions
8 uncooked fresh corn on cob
1 pound kielbasa sausage
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup salt
Tabasco sauce to taste
Fill 30-quart pot with water, add butter, salt and Tabasco and bring to boil. While water is heating, wash and rinse shrimp and cut sausage into 1-inch lengths. When water begins to boil, add potatoes to pot and wait 5 minutes, then add corn; wait another 5 minutes and add sausage and onions; wait another 5 minutes, then add shrimp and boil for only 3 minutes. Drain and serve. Serves 8.
Each week, Orange County Life spotlights a man who enjoys cooking and features one of his favorite recipes. Tell us about your candidate. Write to: Guys & Galleys, Orange County Life, The Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626.