Elvis Presley would have been 84 this week, but what’s the King of Rock and Roll doing on a home cooking blog? Well, Elvis wasn’t just famous for his music and swagger; he also had a tremendous appetite and a whole menu of favourite dishes from the butter and gravy-soaked American south.
From BBQ bologna to coconut cake, these dishes are as delicious as they are iconic, but be warned: enjoying Elvis’s diet more than once per year might also mean enjoying Elvis’s, shall we say, “love me tender” late-life body!
Grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches
We’ll start this list with what was arguably Elvis’s very favourite food: A sandwich of peanut butter, banana slices and crispy bacon grilled with lots of butter. Try mashing the banana into a pulp and grilling with a little garlic. If you’re not keen on processed white bread, go artisanal and whole wheat.
Elvis’s favourite cake just happens to match his iconic white, frilly jumpsuit. Elvis loved this sweet, fluffy dessert glazed in thick vanilla icing and dusted with dry coconut shavings.
A particularly popular delicacy in the dining halls of Graceland (Elvis’s mansion in the US state of Tennessee). The King liked his bologna to be barbequed as the whole loaf (not sliced or chopped) together with lemon juice and vinegar. Here’s a recipe from American radio network NPR – with a bit of bologna history, to boot!
Holy smokes and snakes alive! This bacon-on-beef concoction was a favourite sweet, savoury, greasy indulgence of Elvis’s, made special by the Graceland cook Mary Jenkins Langston. It’s best with locally-sourced hamburger and pork, although there isn’t really a low-fat version (which might help explain why Elvis died at only 42).
Sausage gravy biscuits
This staple of the American south is truly the breakfast of kings: Fluffy, homemade biscuits smothered in chunky sausage gravy. Another protein butter extravaganza (detecting a trend?), but try this Elvis favourite for a morning to sing about.
Monkey bread (an Elvis favoured dessert that he probably considered more of a side dish) is a gooey, cinnamony, tear-away pastry loaf. Try it with vanilla ice cream and maybe a cup of coffee (and get ready to lick your fingers).
Time to Viva Las Vegas with a higher-class Elvis favourite. Oysters Rockefeller, a dish of buttery baked oysters crusted in bread crumbs, was served at his 1967 wedding to Priscilla Presley in the Aladdin Hotel, Las Vegas, along with roast suckling pig, poached and candied salmon and old fashioned southern-style fried chicken.
The Fool’s Gold Loaf
We end our Elvis culinary journey with another sandwich, but not just another sandwich: The Fool’s Gold Loaf was invented by the Colorado Mine Company restaurant in Denver, Colorado, USA, and made legend when Elvis and his entourage flew across the US on a private jet just to eat it. This humongous sandwich calls for a whole loaf of French bread toasted with margarine, entire jars of peanut butter and jelly and a full pound of crispy bacon.
Thank you, thank you very much.