Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s untimely death. And while the indelible effects of his career on the progression of 20th century music are far from forgotten, the mark he left on the food world is also worth acknowledging.
Probably the most notable of the King’s culinary contributions is his famous sandwich: peanut butter, bananas, bacon. It’s kooky, decadent, and surprisingly contemporary, what with this bacon-in-everything moment that we can’t quite seem to shake. While banana and peanut butter are predictable bedfellows, the bacon adds savory crunch, a staccato in an otherwise goopy melody.
Hailing from Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis’ twang belied a palate equally as Southern. He favored biscuits and bologna and held a special affinity for anything deep fried. In a 1995 BBC documentary, Mary Jenkins Langston, Presley’s preferred Graceland chef, loads a cast iron pan with pats of butter before lowering a peanut butter banana sandwich into a boiling bath. Clad in a t-shirt emblazoned with Presley’s face, she smiles at his memory and greases burger buns in his honor.
She prepared for him the homestyle recipes of his impoverished youth. One element of fame and wealth to which Presley never acclimated was the diet. He denounced champagne and caviar in favor of collards.
Unfortunately, his diet had much to do with his death. And at the tender age of 42, Presley suffered a fatal heart attack. So we celebrate his memory—and appetite!—with some Elvis inspired recipes pulled from the site. Enjoy in moderation.
A previous version of this post incorrectly stated this was the 39th anniversary of Elvis' death. We've updated this post for accuracy.