The Asparagus letter

My son Peter — that would be Seebs — having been sidelined by a badly sprained ankle, has been improving the shining hour by sorting out boxes of stuff. And look what he found!

He explains here:

This is a bit of family history, uncovered while sorting through boxes of paperwork.

My grandfather wrote this letter, to which he actually stapled a piece of asparagus. We have a copy of the letter. I don’t recall the outcome, but I think it was positive.

January 22nd, 1946

E. Pritchard Inc.
Bridgeton, N. J.

We had your cut spears asparagus for dinner tonight and they are
so incredible that I know you could not believe a description of them with-
out a sample before you, and so you may know I do not exaggerate, one of
these faggots is enclosed.
It seems that these must have been especially bred for toughness,
for even ordinary uncooked asparagus does not approximate this in tensile
strength and indestructability. I have never eaten bamboo, but I imagine
it could only be as tough as this if sufficiently aged.
Seriously, we have enjoyed your catsup for years and am taking the
trouble to write you since I am convinced that you must be unaware of this
product which masquerades as a food under your brand name. One can of the
stuff could undo $1000. in good advertising.
Yours very truly,


(This letter was written when the notion of a “faggot” as a strong piece of wood was not an innuendo.)
— Peter Seebach

As I recall, someone showed up on our front porch a few days later with a propitiatory box of groceries. I thought it was Del Monte, but by 1946 Pritchard had been bought by Hunt Foods, now Hunt Wesson.

From Google:

Google Books, Pure Ketchup by Andrew Smith
p. 37 In Red Bank, N.J., Naider and Baird made tomato puree. One its salesmen, Edward Pritchard, began experimenting with making ketchup from puree in about 1878. When Naider an Baird failed, Pritchard opened a factory in New York, selling “Pride of the Farm” and “Eddy’s Brand Catsup.” In 1913 Pritchard purchased B.S. Ayers and Sons and moved to Bridgeton, New Jersey.

p.121 Almost simultaneously with the Del Monte corporation, ketchup production by Hunt Foods dramatically increased after its acquisition of the E. Pritchard Company in Bridgeton, NJ, . . .[exact date not clear from the excerpt, but likely in the 1940s].

About linsee

Linda Seebach retired in 2007 from the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, where she was an editorial writer and columnist.
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