How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

If Elvis and Paula Dean Had a Baby, This Sandwich Would Be It

June 2013 Update: Anybody finding this post after the Paula Deen scandal might be interested in a provocative essay about Deen on the Dangerous Minds blog. Richard Metzger's screed references earlier Deen scandals and asserts that a combination of factors led to the speed of her fall from celebrity. Much more constructive and instructive is an Open Letter to Paula Deen from Southern food blogger Michael Twitty, who uses her fall from grace as an opportunity to educate all of us about broader patterns of culinary injustice. Meanwhile, WBUR blogger Caryl Rivers suggests that the Deen story is a distraction from real concerns about race.

I uttered the sentence above at the first bite of this evening's sandwich bomb. We knew it as an Elvis Sandwich, based on our September viewing of Sandwiches You Will Like. (We thought that film would be trouble, and we were right!) But the sheer decadence of this sandwich put me immediately in mind of Paula Deen. Since I mainly know her from occasional NPR segments, rather than print or television, I decided to check the spelling on her web site. Finding the above teaser as the banner at the top of the main page confirmed my inkling that this might have been her kind of sandwich.

The recipe from Peanut Butter and Company in New York City is quite simple: fry bacon, butter bread. Put one slice of bread on a hot griddle, spread with peanut butter, top with banana slices, top that with bacon, and apply the other piece of buttered toast. Grill until brown on the outside and melty on the inside. It is a simple recipe, but not entirely an easy one, as applying peanut butter over a hot griddle to buttered bread is rather a sticky prospect. The term "hot mess" seems to apply.

By the way, we used Cabot butter from Vermont, yogurt bread made in the bread machine by Pam this afternoon (that's Stonyfield yogurt, of course, again from Vermont), rather ordinary bananas as we found no fair-trade types at the grocery this time, and bacon from Nodine's Smoke House, purchased at the nearby Peaceful Meadows dairy store. We love bacon and would eat it all the time were it not bad for us and even worse for the pigs. So we eat it infrequently and from the highest-quality, most local sources we can, instead of factory farms.

We let the bread cool thoroughly and I sliced it as thinly as I reasonably could, but as with all our bread-machine bread, it provided ample heft for these sandwiches. As Pam arrived home from her recorder lesson, the bacon and all the other sandwich makings were ready; I had even preheated the griddle. So the following progression took only about five minutes, ending with sandwiches that were golden-brown outside and gooey inside.

I kept them on the griddle long enough to pack them down a bit. Then I cut them in half (sailboat-style) and served them with chilled, pure apple sauce from Hanson Farm. And a lot of milk, just as Elvis might have done! We agreed that they were far tastier than expected, but also far more filling. Next time, a single sandwich will do for the two of us!

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