My mother, June Sullivan, was a voracious collector of vinyl record albums. Her focus was Elvis Presley but she also honed in on Jerry Lee Lewis, Merle Haggard and Boots Randolph. We'd hit flea markets and yard sales in the Cumberland Highlands region of Appalachia and often have a foot race to see who'd get to the always-present box of lps.
My collection, sixty linear feet strong, can be attributed to this remarkable woman.
When Elvis passed, she took to her bedroom and stayed for a week. All you'd hear was the Clambake lp through the door. Sustenance? We took turns shuttling fried baloney sandwiches to her while she mourned with our mammoth St. Bernard, Dixie, by her side.
Today marks thirty five years since Elvis passed, or went into hiding, depending on who you talk to. Digging around through the web netted several recipes for Elvis favorite food; by some estimates, a sandwich constructed from peanut butter, light bread, bananas and bacon.
I love bacon but it has no place on a peanut butter sandwich. Plus, many accounts of the Elvis recipe make no mention of bacon so this recipe abstains from including it.
I couldn't find any mention of what Elvis favorite brand of peanut butter was, but I'm banking on it being JFG. If you grew up in the South, chances are there was a jar of JFG in your cupboard. The bright red lid beckoned many a youth when it came sandwich making time. The company, founded in Tennessee in 1882 by James Franklin Goodson, had an eighty two year run before being sold to Louisiana's Reily Foods in 1965.
Anybody who drove through Knoxville for the better part of the 20th century remembers the enormous JFG sign that peered down from the skyline. Under the fourteen feet tall "JFG" letters were the words "special coffee" and "the best part of the meal." Coffee historians will be pleased to know that the latter phrase came from the pen of Knoxville school teacher Jean Beaman Walker.
Nowadays JFG's goods are folded into the aforementioned Reily foods along with Wick Fowler's Two Alarm Chili and Taco Seasonings, Blue Plate mayonnaise and Luzianne teas. I haven't laid eyes on a jar of JFG peanut butter in a coon's age and I doubt that it's being manufactured any longer.
Elvis Presley's Favorite Sandwich
1/4 c. Peanut butter
1 each Banana, ripe, sliced into discs
2 T. Butter, cow's
2 slices bread, light
* Heat cast iron pan on low with 1 T. butter
* Place bread in pan
* Cook 2 minutes
* Remove bread
* Add 1 T. butter to pan
* Place bread,un-browned side down, in pan
* Spoon peanut butter onto one slice
* Add sliced banana to other slice
* Compact into grilled sandwich format
Voila! You now have a classic Elvis Presley sandwich ready to devour and sure to satisfy
Bon Appetit Y'all
photo credit Rob Siebert