During research for a future post, we had to do a few googles on sandwiches. This in turn led us directly to the Wikipedia list of sandwiches. As you could expect, the classics were there; the great BLT, the bold and beautiful steak sandwich, the humble, plain ole cheese. As with any of these lists, there were a few more curious entities, such as the baked bean sandwich or the spaghetti sandwich. But one thing stuck out was the Elvis. Peanut butter and banana. Sometimes with bacon.
I happened to know that was one of the King’s favourite meals but it was one of those general knowledge facts you don’t keep stored unless you were a serious disciple of the man’s work. And I’m more of a Little Richard kinda guy. Throw in a little Gene Vincent too. Hardly like it’s knowledge helping you secure a mortgage or obtain a pay rise. However, as we sat there thinking, thoughts started to develop. More specifically, the word: “Why?” Not only was he publicly on good terms with world leaders – also distantly related to Jimmy Carter – Elvis Presley was richer than a bank, and had more power and influence than anyone could know what to do with. Few people ever in this life become so big that their very image is an industry. Elvis did it without really even aiming for it. So let’s just take it at face value that the guy could get anything he bloody well wanted. Why did he want this grease – o – rama? This horrendous sounding mush? This Mike Tyson fight of gastronomy?
Surely you don’t end up with something like this in your dietary staple unless you’ve chanced upon it? It would be a curious palette indeed who craved this specific fixer. I’m having trouble working out how the hell this even made its miserable way into existence. The only scenario imaginable to me is coming in hungry after a night out. Throw together what’s in the fridge and experiment. See what sticks. But Elvis would have had an exceedingly large and full fridge. With his own catering staff. And probably never cooked in his life. Everything gives more questions than answers. So whhhhhhyyyyy? If only someone would step up and try this for themselves. Then conveniently blog about their suffering for others. . .
When I reviewed Da Bomb it was done with a fair air of bonhomie. Juvenile humour, like a scene in Jackass. Well, let us evoke that spirit once again. And let’s face facts, this is the closest I’ll ever get to being a rock star. [Ed Note: You’re too polite to throw a TV out of a hotel window. . . ]
” . . .this slightly musky, slightly sweet mush. . . “
Now, there are variants to the methods, do you go raw with the banana? Fry it with the bacon grease? Apparently, it has to be smooth PB though. Firstly, Google tells me there are various methods. I read through this one. If you read it you’ll notice that all references to cooking bananas are in a dessert or breakfast pancakes context. Dread to think what their reaction would be if they knew it was going in a bacon sarnie.
For my first attempt, I pan-fry slices with coconut oil. Admittedly the smell of them in the pan was a musky-sweet aroma. The sugar in them started to caramelise which gave off some great images and scent. Obviously, I had to use white bread, there’s absolutely no point having brown, whole grain bread with this. That might be healthy. You’re supposed to fry the bread in butter after making the sandwich but I simply value my heart too much. So I toast the bread to a decent medium toast, I don’t need experience to tell me banana and bread together is gooey slush. Better jot that one down.
The Breakfast of Kings
So here it is, the moment of truth. . .
Ladies and gentlemen, taste has left the building.
The combination of fried banana slices and peanut butter weirdly taste like potato. That mushy starch kind of taste. Only with a bit of sugar/caramelisation thrown in. It’s just fucking bland. No dynamic at all, just this sludgy taste. It’s horrible. I was hoping to give some definitive description. But I can’t. There isn’t a description to give. There’s mush. . . and a little sugar. And that’s it. It took several attempts to get through it. When it cooled down the slices stiffened up a little which at least gave it some texture but otherwise, it was like chewing on a dish sponge. You would think the PB would prevent that dryness but somehow the bananas overpower it and you’re left with this slightly musky, slightly sweet mush. It’s sickly sweet, with the emphasis on sick.
” . . . The salt of the meat added something against the sugar. . .”
Elvis specified crisp, crunchy bacon. Of course, you’ve gotta fry it for that good, authentic ‘I don’t want to live too long anyway’ wholesomeness. So the grill is long occupied as I chop up two more ‘nanas, this time with a tiny bit of water, honey and grated cinnamon. This was a far better cook through. The coconut oil gave me a short window of time where the slices went from soft to burnt. Honey and cinnamon on a lower heat was a far better fix. The honey-fluid coated the slices more and heated them better than the instant singe of oil. And at least with crispy bacon there’ll be more texture rather than the dish mop like qualities of the original.
To be fair the bacon holds it together, barely. The honey taste made it even more sickly sweet, and the banana is softer. The salt of the meat added something against the sugar. And peanut butter and bacon isn’t a bad toastie anyway so you’ve still got a half-decent snack. Just not a fully decent one. The crisp bacon does add texture, but what is the chunkiness against two hard cream-like fillings anyway? This sandwich lasted a touch longer before that sugary aftertaste mush ganged up on me. But it’s just nasty. The amount of sweetness I consumed was enough to make my teeth feel soft and hairy. I mean, if this is a meal fit for a king then count me out. Should a sandwich make you feel like cleaning your teeth afterwards?
But don’t let my tone of politeness fool you. This is the worst fucking thing I’ve ever eaten. Actually, no. This is the worst thing that has ever been eaten in the history of everything. This is. . . this is. . . this is grim. This makes The Sail Loft’s burger look like the Ivy. Awful. Disgusting. Wretch-worthy. Just what the hell am I doing with my life? I’m sitting here trying to come up with something, anything savage and witty, trying to find that one little kernel of inspiration to write about. As satisfying as it would be to rip this a new one, this doesn’t make me feel angry enough. Just sad. Resigned. There’s no righteous indignation, no bon mots. All creativity and inspiration got absorbed into that sponge-like mouthfeel. It’s sad that the worst thing I’ve eaten was something I made, but the mush and sludge proved too much for delicate little me. I threw out both sandwiches half-eaten. Supposedly, it’s that lack of grit and toughness that separates me from the god-like abilities of Elvis. Ha. Indeed. This is what separates the wheat from the chaff. The boys from the men. The Gene Vincent’s from the Presleys. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Everything about it screams “Why?” to us mere mortals. Only the bold and the brilliant could fathom such delights. Why else could Elvis eat these repeatedly every single day?
The truth is a little more mundane than that. Elvis was new money. He came from a town not exactly known for their Michelin star caviar. Speaking in good faith, the guy never forgot where he came from. He was a good ole fashioned, biscuits-and-gravy southern boy. It even helped the appeal to one of his core fans – the blue-collar working man. It was even good for business:
“The peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich is part of the whole Elvis mystique,” said Robert Thompson, professor of media and culture at Syracuse University, who identified the lowbrow sandwich as proof of Elvis’ common touch. “He wasn’t only the king, he was one of us.”
Anyways, outside of the context of Elvis, if you badly craved some fat and sugar this might work, like a low blood sugar kind of emergency. I’d still say that banana really has no place in a dam sandwich Pancakes? Yes. Ice cream sundae? Yes. Sandwich? Nope. But let’s be fair, context and format is everything. A peanut butter and banana sandwich sounds horrible. A PB + B milkshake would go down a treat.
In more modern times, there has been a debate about how much can you separate the immoral behaviour of an artist from one’s personal enjoyment of the work. Some people have chosen to entirely distance themselves from the person to keep on listening to Michael Jackson or watch Woody Allen movies. Thank goodness we can do the same here. . .
Do you like one for the money? Two for the show? Comment below and let us know!