Yes, I can admit it now – my family was one of the original blue-suede-shoes-set that traveled to the hallowed city of Memphis for the first anniversary of the death of its most famous son, Elvis Presley. I understand that now you can tour the inside of the mansion – see the Jungle Room, the pool, everything. Not then. We waited for over three hours in the hot August sun just to walk around gravestones of the Presley family and then walk back down the driveway.
People were fainting left and right (I’m not sure if it was the heat or they were overcome with grief – I always hoped it was the heat). At eleven years old, I can remember thinking that if this many people were falling over, then why were we still standing in line? But stood in line, we did. I think this was probably my mother’s favorite family vacation of all time.
While we were there, you would think that we could have tried some of the great cuisine of the city, but, no. It was nothing but fast food, although we did get some barbeque – from a chain restaurant. That’s the family I grew up with – not a culinary adventurer in the bunch. Except me.
I’m not sure where I got it, but I have become quite the foodie. I even started a gourmet cooking club a few years ago. I don’t have any formal training, but that hasn’t stopped me from exploring the food that excites me. Of course, all of that is easier when you have a disposable income.
We’ve been hit pretty hard by the economic downturn. It has meant giving up our favorite foodie haunts: cutting edge restaurants, the gourmet food store. Shoot, even a trip to the regular market gets a little hairy from time to time. But I try to live by the old adage: When life hand you lemons, make limoncello. (You can make lemonade if you want - but if things are that bad, I’d rather be liquored up.) That’s where Inexpensive Eating was born.
I really began my blog as a way to fill the hours while my kitchen and bath design business was in the dumps (there are only so many revisions you can make to the same bathroom drawing before you start to go insane). Having no money for exotic (or even non-seasonal) ingredients means that getting creative is the only way I have to cook. Turns out, that it’s a blast! My creativity (and my foodie soul) is re-energized by coming up with original recipes. The fact that other people seem to like them too is just icing on the cake.
In honor of this new pilgrimage that I have begun, I thought I should come up with something that connects the memories of my youth with the path I’m on now. As ashamed as I am to admit it, one of the things I adored from my childhood (and still eat occasionally) is a peanut butter and banana sandwich. And can there be another food that more embodies the Elvis Presley experience? Personally, I can’t think of peanut butter without thinking of chocolate. And chocolate goes great with bananas too!
So as a means of making this flavor combination more appealing to a wider set (at least those who live outside of the rural south), I decided to roll them all together into a dessert. It hits every comfort food button that is installed in my body. It really has become one of my new favorites. I hope it is yours as well.
I also hope that you find the thing that sets you on the path to begin your pilgrimage – even if it does lead you to Graceland (or Dollywood, or the Liberace museum…)
|This isn't our pilgrimage, but it sure looks familiar. Thanks to Mona over at Itawamba Connections - it's her traveling grandmother, Beck, standing at the gates of Graceland in the late 70's..|