The Salt
11:08 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Elvis Left The Building Long Ago, But His Food (And Music) Lives On

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 5:12 pm

Elvis Presley was better known for his music than his gourmet tastes. But he did have a famous affinity for the fried goodness of the American South — and he had the waistline to prove it.

In honor of what would have been the King of Rock 'n' Roll's 78th birthday, let's take a look at some of his legendary eating habits.

His famously beloved fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches — or "peanut butter and 'nanner sandwiches," according to Are You Hungry Tonight, a cookbook of his favorite recipes — were basically peanut butter and sliced banana between two pieces of white bread, fried in butter.

Butter seems to have been a frequent part of Presley's diet, contributing to his weight gain before his untimely demise at age 42 in 1977. By that time, "Elvis had long been gobbling drugs and fatty foods," Graeme Wood writes over at the now-defunct The Daily. "But his romance with saturated fat reached a sort of point-of-no-return 18 months before the end, on a chilly night that started at Graceland, his estate in Memphis, Tenn."

Wood recounts the story of Presley's famous flight to Denver one night to get a sandwich that topped even his old familiar favorite. One night in 1976, the King started reminiscing about Fool's Gold Loaf, a sandwich he'd once eaten at the Colorado Mine Company in Denver. It cost $49.95 at the time — $189 in today's dollars, Wood says.

Apparently, Presley's craving was so intense that he and his entourage jumped on his private plane and jetted off for the two-hour ride to Denver — a midnight junk food run that totaled $16,000, says Wood.

As for the calorie count involved, estimates vary: Wood says 8,000 but some estimates have run as high as 42,000! Here's the recipe:

"Take a whole loaf of Italian bread and slice it lengthwise. Hollow it out and slather it with margarine. Then add a whole jar of jelly and a whole jar of creamy peanut butter, creating two large boats of PB&J. Finally, add a whole pound of fried bacon. Before adding the bacon, dab away the grease on paper towels (presumably to avoid adding unnecessary fat and rendering the sandwich disgusting). Then reunite the sandwich halves, deep-fry, and serve."

Far be it from us to advocate anyone eat like Presley (as we've told you before, all that bacon could be the death of you). Still, those curious about the King's other culinary ways can dive into these recipes from the authorized cookbook, Graceland's Table: Recipes Fit for the King of Rock and Roll.

Or you could try a modern interpretation of Elvis' immortal beloved snack — The Elvis Presley Milkshake, from Charleston, S.C.-based chef Sean Brock. He shared the recipe for All Things Considered's Found Recipe series.

Every January 8th, Brock works peanut butter and banana into the menu at his restaurants. One year, as he was serving cheeseburgers to his staff, the idea of a milkshake hit him. "[I]t was kind of weird, especially with the bacon in the milkshake, but it turned out to be delicious," Brock says. Listen to All Things Considered's story later for more details, but here's the recipe if you just can't wait.

Sean Brock's Elvis Presley Milkshake

From Come In, We're Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World's Best Restaurants

Serves 4 to 6

5 thick-cut strips of smoked bacon

2 very ripe bananas

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

1/4 cup Buffalo Trace bourbon

3 cups vanilla ice cream, softened slightly

3 tablespoons of bacon fat, cooled

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, fry the bacon until very crispy, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the bacon on paper towels. Reserve the rendered bacon fat separately, allowing it to cool slightly.

Place the bananas, peanut butter and bourbon in a blender. Add the cooked bacon and 3 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and blend until smooth, about 45 seconds, scraping down the sides if necessary. Add the ice cream and pulse to incorporate into a smooth shake, about 30 seconds. If you'd like, you can also incorporate the ice cream by hand by mixing it in with a whisk or an immersion blender; this will help keep the shake in a more frozen state. Serve immediately. Transfer any extra shake to a lidded container and reserve in the freezer. Because the alcohol prevents it from completely freezing, it turns into a scoopable ice cream.

P.S.: It's also the birthday of another famous rocker — David Bowie. It's highly unlikely that the now 66-year-old Thin White Duke ever ingested 100,000 calories a day, as some sources have suggested Presley did toward the end. Of course, Bowie's still kicking — and rocking. As our friends at All Songs Considered note, the singer is celebrating the day by releasing a new song.

Over at Flavorwire, check out a slideshow of Bowie doing ordinary things, like eating airplane food, cutting his birthday cake, and more recently, food shopping.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, BYLINE: And now, we take a moment to commemorate the 78th birthday of Elvis Presley.

(SOUNDBITE OF "ALL SHOOK UP")

ELVIS PRESLEY: (Singing) Well, bless my soul, what's wrong with me? I'm itching like a man on a fuzzy tree...

CORNISH: Okay, okay. Seventy-eight is not exactly a milestone, but it's a good enough excuse to hear our latest found recipe, the Elvis Presley milkshake.

GRAEME WOOD: It's peanut butter, banana, some cooked crispy bacon and we also used bacon fat and ice cream.

CORNISH: Wait, did he say bacon and bacon fat? Oh, yes, he did. There's also some bourbon in there.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CORNISH: To tell us all about the Elvis Presley milkshake is Chef Sean Brock, owner of the restaurant Husk and McCrady's in Charleston, South Carolina. It's something he concocted to share with his staff as a treat. It goes great with cheeseburgers, he says.

(SOUNDBITE OF "ALL SHOOK UP")

PRESLEY: (Singing) My heart beats so it scares me to death. Well, she touched my...

SEAN BROCK: I am a really big Elvis fan. One of his favorite things to eat was a peanut butter and banana sandwich that he would often fry in bacon fat or, like, tons and tons of butter.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

PRESLEY: (Singing) Well, I woke up this morning (unintelligible)

BROCK: One day, it was right around Elvis' birthday, I just wanted to do something unique and fun. And immediately thought of those flavors.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

PRESLEY: (Singing) I ain't had no milk and butter since that cow's been gone.

BROCK: So two very ripe bananas, vanilla ice cream, just straight peanut butter, some bacon that has been cooked crispy and there's also a little bacon fat. You want the bacon fat to be cold and solid. The bourbon is really my touch. A lot of people don't know that Elvis actually didn't drink. It's just something we added in there for our own personal amusement.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

PRESLEY: (Singing) Let's milk it.

BROCK: I don't even want to know what the calorie count is going to be. There you go, an Elvis Presley milkshake. And it has, like, chunks of bacon in it. So good. One of my favorite things.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

PRESLEY: (Singing) Well...

CORNISH: Chef Sean Brock is based in Charleston, South Carolina. You can get the recipe for the Elvis Presley milkshake at NPR's food blog "The Salt," and try it for yourself.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And just out of curiosity, between the bacon, peanut butter, bourbon, ice cream and bananas, we decided to figure a rough estimate of how many calories are in that recipe. And it's just under 2,400 calories. But break it up with six friends and you're looking at about 400 calories per serving.

CORNISH: Ooh, about an hour on the treadmill uphill. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.