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Culinary Museum Showcases Elvis Cookbooks from its Permanent Collection

Submitted by on April 7, 2009 – 7:22 pmNo Comment

Southern Fried Elvis,” an exhibition of cookbooks that focus on the food eaten by the late King of Rock and Roll, opens to the public on April 24 in the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The small exhibition features eight cookbooks that contain recipes of the foods that Elvis ate as well as other memorabilia, including an extravagant pop-up book showing the rooms of Graceland — and its kitchen.

“We noticed we had at least eight cookbooks in the collection that focused on Elvis and we wondered why that was,” explains Chris Smith, manager of the collection. “Of course, we know that anything with the word Elvis in it sells, but we still found it odd that all of the books were published after Elvis died. At the time, only a cook or chef would have had their names attached to eight cookbooks. Also, all of the books (except one) feature photos of Elvis but only when he was thin. One book, which isn’t fan-based or Graceland-based, has some shots of a heavy Elvis.”

“Elvis was a classic Southern boy who liked all the hard-core foods – meat loaf, mashed potatoes, pork chops, fried chicken, white bread with gravy, cheeseburgers, the whole nine yards,” says Smith. “And then there were his legendary favorites, which included banana pudding and the infamous fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

“I think one of the things that people find interesting about Elvis is that he did not change his eating habits once he became famous,” Smith says. “Even though he had the money to eat anywhere he wanted, he did not like fancy restaurants He preferred the food he grew up with. He loved Southern food as well as fast food.”

Smith says that Elvis’ eating habits are well documented.

  • Elvis did not like to eat fish;
  • He loved watermelon and cantaloupe;
  • He said his favorite meal was breakfast;
  • Elvis ate a lot of sandwiches because he said he didn’t have a lot of time to eat;
  • Elvis liked his meat cooked very well-done;
  • When Elvis cooked, he generally fixed eggs and bacon;
  • One item to be hand-made each night at Graceland was banana pudding;
  • Elvis did not drink alcohol; but
  • Elvis drank milk and would say “Milk makes ya sexy!”

“Why do people buy cookbooks that feature the names of movie stars?” Smith asks. “Do people buy these particular books because they are collectors? Do people want to eat like their favorite entertainers? If so, better watch out because Elvis did not eat low-fat anything.”

“Southern Fried Elvis” will remain on display until mid-summer.

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the American South. It opened in June 2008 at the Riverwalk Marketplace in New Orleans. The museum hosts special exhibits, demonstrations, lectures and tastings that showcase the food and drink of the South.

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