Cookbook fit for the King

By Keri Hayes

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Elvis fans will be delighted to hear that the King has been immortalized once again, this time in the form of a new cookbook, "Elvis in Hollywood: Recipes Fit For a King," by Elizabeth McKeon. The cookbook not only features over 250 of the King's favorite dishes, but is also full of memoirs written by friends and colleagues, rare photographs and interesting little factoids.

Elvis Presley arrived in Hollywood in 1956, forming a legacy that still causes women to swoon upon mention of that well-mannered Southern boy.

The various writings by such celebrities as Wayne Newton, Barbara Eden, Marlyn Mason and Ann-Margaret tend to portray Elvis as a generous, respectful fun-loving guy, which he may have been. Regardless, nothing is ever said in these reminisces about his darker days and the toll his love of greasy Southern cooking took on his health.

As evidence of another nail in the King's coffin, the book lists his favorite snacks as meatball sandwiches, peanut butter and banana sandwiches and ice cream with Pepsi Cola. There is no doubt that the King's arteries might have been growing a little thick. A breakfast of mashed potatoes, gravy and hominy grits, a lunch of more mashed potatoes atop white bread with gravy and a large steak for dinner was Elvis' standard fare.

Mind you, the King was concerned about getting chubby, and often dieted on yogurt and coffee, but then would succumb to temptation and down a bowl of gravy, a bowl of mashed potatoes, nine slices of bacon, a quart of milk, tomato juice and six slices of bread in one sitting.

The centerpiece of almost every recipe included in the cookbook, most of which come from the files of Elvis' personal cook, is bacon. It seems the King lived to consume the stuff, which probably did little for his health. From potato and bacon soup to bacon corn muffins, Elvis had everything covered. Even the vegetable recipes include the salted and fried delicacy, from glazed carrots with bacon to green beans with bacon.

The recipes all ring true to Elvis' love of Southern cooking, with appetizers like hamburger puffs and crullers. Some less appetizing appetizers include ham pancakes and appetizer burgers.

Elvis' cookbook would not be complete, of course, without an array of burgers, another of his favorites. Included are, you guessed it, bacon burgers, sloppy Joe burgers, Hawaiian hamburgers and stuffed burgers. Steaks and a few variations on chicken are also included. Last, but not least, are peanut butter and banana sandwiches, which are coated in butter and pan fried.

Elvis definitely had a sweet tooth, and the dessert recipes are probably the best in the cookbook. Chocolate chip chiffon cake, ice cream pie and Boston cream pie are just a few of the temptations.

"Elvis in Hollywood" is definitely a necessity for any devoted fan the candid pictures are reason enough to make the purchase.

If, as many claim, the King is still alive today, he is probably living it up in some small Southern town choking down lots of greasy dinners. Maybe he's working as a cook. In his own words:

"I can cook, but nothing that's too fancy."

"Elvis in Hollywood: Recipes Fit for a King" by Elizabeth McKeon is available for $12.95 at most bookstores.

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