For the last few days, I've been typesetting an Amish cookbook which has put me off of Amish food for life, I'm afraid, not that I was a big fan before. But I don't want to talk about that. I want to talk about Elvis.
Years ago, I edited a bed and breakfast directory by a publisher who also did fun things like anthologies of the Andy Griffith Show and the kinds of books you'd find in the gift shop at Cracker Barrel. I got paid in real money, but they also sent me a book as a gift—Fit For A King; The Elvis Presley Cookbook.
After "thank you," my second response was "ew." All I knew about Elvis was his love for fat and slop, hollowing out a loaf of bread and stuffing it with icky things. But this cookbook isn't all bad. It's full of the food I grew up with, being southern. It's got recipes for barbecue, fried chicken, fried okra and sweet potato pie. And it's got bananas—banana bread, banana shakes, banana cream pie, banana muffins, banana pudding. According to the book, the kitchen staff was instructed to prepare banana pudding every night of the week, although the recipe in this book doesn't sound much like what my mother used to make with vanilla wafers.
Along with all of that, Fit For A King tells you how to make peanut butter and banana sandwiches. I loved those as a kid, but the Elvis version is a little different. We used to spread peanut butter on a slice of bread and top it with sliced bananas and another slice of bread. Yum. The King liked to blend the peanut butter with ripe bananas to make banana mush, smear it on bread. and then grill the sandwich in a skillet with butter.
That makes sense since everything southern is better when fried in some fashion. I guess what we made when we were kids was a shortcut, or maybe all we needed was kitchen staff to fry us up some sandwiches whenever we wanted. It pays to be the King.