Elvis Presley’s Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches
Talk about food that will stick to your ribs and power you through twenty-five hours of contemplation. Here’s the sandwich for you. Roselle Chartock writes about Rabbi Alfred Fruchter and his wife, Jeannette, who were the Presleys’ upstairs neighbors in a large Victorian house in Memphis. “Jeannette . . . explained how, once a month, they would have the Presleys over for Friday Sabbath dinner. ‘Elvis loved our food,’ she said, ‘especially the challah. He would have his peanut butter and banana sandwich, his favorite food, on challah.’ ” He was also the Fruchters’ Shabbos goy — a non-Jew hired by Jews to perform certain chores for them that they are prohibited from doing on the Sabbath.
2 slices Challah (page 54)
1 medium ripe banana
2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Lightly toast the challah (to keep it from ripping when the peanut butter is spread on it).
- Mash the banana on one slice of challah, then spread the peanut butter on the other slice. Close the spread sides together.
- Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat, then fry the sandwich on each side until both sides are golden brown.
- It’s most easily consumed if cut on the diagonal to serve.
Roselle Chartock, in her infinitely interesting book The Jewish World of Elvis Presley, quotes one of Elvis’s costars from his movie Girl Happy, Joby Baker: “ ‘One day . . . Elvis mentioned how much he loved chitlins .” . . . Joby thought Elvis would like gribenes (scraps of fried chicken or goose cracklings and onion) . . . Joby made some for Elvis, who loved the dish. Joby said, ‘Elvis used to ask me [in Yiddish] to make gribenes. Esppes schtickel gribenes? . . . It was his favorite food besides fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.’ ”
Zoe Zak has served as the rabbi of Temple Israel in Catskill, New York, since 2012, where she also resides.
Susan Simon has been illustrating children’s books for over 30 years. “Almost a Minyan” is her 18th book. Illustration is a family affair passed down to her by her beloved grandfather. She is also trained to give workshops in art therapy.