M. Andrew Gordon

Brunching Presley Style

In Baked Goods, Dinner Party, Pork on January 26, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Blogging is a labor of love, something that is easy to let slide when work becomes busy, commutes turn into hours-long slogs, life takes unexpected twists and turns, or the holidays make everything busy as hell.  In many ways, it’s not unlike the common refrain about diets being hard to hold onto during the holiday season (though rest assured there will be no pseudo-healthy mumbo-jumbo in the pages of JustAddBacon).  In a nutshell, it is just easy to get distracted from the mission behind blogging.

Since my last post, way back in dying days of autumn, there has been some good cooking that could have made its way on here.  Off the top of my head, I created a savory pumpkin bread pudding, a cranberry ice cream, a pork-plantain stew, savory baked French toast, beef and bean stuffed shells, and a host of dishes for a Tiki-themed dinner party* that were worth blogging about.  Lena and I also ate some awesome dishes, notably half a pig’s head, and had an amazing dinner at East Coast Grill.  There was also a trip to Kentucky that allowed me to delve into some old family recipes.

This past Sunday saw a litany of good food to blog about.  In my ongoing effort to host at least one sizable dinner party per month, I had shaken things up and decided a brunch would be a fun diversion.  What would be even more fun would be creating a menu based on the life and times of Elvis Presley.  Known for his outlandish excesses of his later years – stories abound of the King and his Memphis Mafia boarding his private plane, the Lisa Marie, and flying to Denver for Fool’s Gold sandwiches, a glorified peanut butter-and-jelly with bacon, or flying in dozens of donuts.

But what I wanted to do with the menu was to tell the story of a young man growing up in the middle part of the 20th century in Tennessee, his family living paycheck to paycheck, who would go on to become the biggest musical and cinematic act of his time.  And the best part would be telling this story through food.  A food-ography, if you will.

The first dish I thought of was something Elvis likely would have enjoyed: a trio of bacon, representing his life from the simple, plain upbringing (smoked bacon) to his jetting around the country to film his movies (pineapple glazed bacon) to the outrageous decadence of something like that Fool’s Gold sandwich (chocolate dipped bacon with macadamia nut).  Elvis was, if nothing else, a simple Southern boy and to my Yankee thinking, nothing seems more Southern than cornbread.  So it was that each bacon selection would be paired with a unique cornbread: a plain, rustic bread to match the simplicity of smoked bacon; Jiffy corn bread to pair with Elvis’ love of easy effort and maximal results; and peanut butter cornbread because it just sounds extravagant.

The next dish that sprang to mind was something even more to the King’s liking: a banana stuffed doughnut with peanut butter frosting.  The man loved peanut butter and banana sandwiches; how could he not love a peanut butter and banana doughnut?

Elvis was, if nothing else, a product of the times and of the 1950s car culture, loving to spend his free time going to movies.  Nothing seems more fitting to represent that era than a burger with fries and a milkshake.  But I was cooking brunch, so a burger with grilled Vidalia onion and topped with a fried quail egg seemed perfect.

I wanted something that screamed breakfast and preferably something that seemed more down-home.  Buttermilk biscuits might actually be more Southern than cornbread, causing my previous claim to be erroneous.  I had also heard from my girlfriend that an old family dish was serving biscuits with fried apples; slices of apples cooked over low heat in butter until they became golden and deliciously sweet.  I was almost there, biscuits with fried apples sounded good to me but it seemed like there was something that would put this over the top.  One word screamed out: ham.  Now the dish was sweet (apples), salty (ham), and rich (all three).

I will try to follow up with some more in depth posts on the meal in the coming week.  Thanks for sticking with the blog

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  1. You ain’t nothin’ but a GENIUS!

  2. Forgettin’ to take photos all the time.

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