From One Who Walked Alone by Novalyne Price Ellis:
REH said: "[M]en made a terrible mistake when they called their best girls their rose or violet or names like that, because a man ought to call his girl something that was near his heart. What, he asked, was nearer a man’s heart than his stomach? Therefore he considered it to be an indication of his deep felt love and esteem to call me his cherished little bunch of onion tops, and judging from past experience, both of us had a highest regard for onions."
In a later letter he wrote:
“My very dear little Bunch of Radishes” or “My very dear Beans, Cornbread and Onions” or “My dear Sausage and Big, Brown Fluffy Biscuits as well as sliced red beets with butter over them.”
All of the foods/dishes listed above would appear to be "near [to REH's] heart." I grew up in a rural area and all of the above were popular with older people from a generation just a few decades later than Bob's.
"When I get in a sea-port town, I revel in oysters, shrimps, crabs, sea-fish, and the like, to my heart’s content. I find one thing about such food; it doesn’t seem to stay with you and give you any real strength. I eat it in enormous quantities, and then in a few hours I’m ravenously hungry again. Maybe it’s because, like most people in this country, I’m a beef-eater, Indeed, beef in some form or other seems to be the only food that gives me the necessary nutriment."
-- Robert E. Howard to H. P. Lovecraft 2 November, 1932