Posts Tagged ‘Recipes’

Fit for a King

As you probably know, Elvis Presley was fond of peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

The Presley PB&B* is made with buttered white bread, peanut butter, and banana. The sandwich is pan-fried and served piping hot.

I don’t know if the PB&B is an Elvis thing or a Southern thing. I haven’t tried one, either. But it got me to thinking about some of the favorites over the years in my thoroughly Southern family.

The topic bubbled up last week when I was making lunch for my two-year-old granddaughter Sarah. That day, she had fruit juice, grapes, a fistful of Goldfish, and half of a peanut butter sandwich.

As I spread the peanut butter on the bread, I briefly considered peeling a banana, whipping out a pan, and surprising her with a hot PB&B.

But it was just a fleeting thought. I didn’t do it. I knew Sarah would rat me out to her mom and dad.

Dustin and Leslie serve the kids peanut butter freely, but not jelly. Maddie and Sarah undoubtedly will forever think of peanut butter on wheat bread as THE basic sandwich. Everything else will be considered a lesser variation.

When Dustin and Britt were growing up, PB&J was the standard in our house. A plain peanut butter sandwich simply wasn’t an option. Without jelly, especially strawberry preserves, one’s sandwich was unfinished.

Going back a generation, to the Leave-It-to-Beaver days when I was a lad, a different sandwich was our staple.

Forget PB&J. Peanut butter was a luxury and a rarity. Our basic sandwich was the B&J — butter and jelly. On white bread, naturally. That and pumpernickel were the only choices in those days.

Of the store-bought jellies, grape was the family favorite. The jar of apple jelly was opened only after all the grape was gone.

Our B&J sandwiches, by the way, often were accompanied by a filling and nourishing drink that has long since fallen out of favor: egg milk.

To make egg milk, Mom filled a glass with whole milk, added a teaspoon of sugar, broke a raw egg into the glass, and stirred vigorously with a spoon. Mighty tasty.

Salmonella? Is that a kind of sandwich?

And, reaching another generation back, Mom said that her family had its own standard sandwich when she was young: the B&S.

The B&S was a single slice of (you guessed it) white bread, on which was spread butter or oleo, and atop which was sprinkled sugar. Mom said all the mothers in Macon, Georgia, served B&S sandwiches to their families.

I tried it once. It was crunchy.

To me, all of the above sandwiches — B&S, B&J, PB&J, PB, PB&B — are too sweet. I keep PB in the pantry, but only for visiting grandkids.

My taste runs to another type of sandwich that has, down through the years, loomed large in Smithdom.

It’s a sandwich that is simple and elegant and which nobody doesn’t like: the excellent and delicious tomato sandwich.

The classic and, in my humble opinion, preferred tomato sandwich is made with room-temperature tomatoes, white bread, mayo, salt, and pepper.

Variations exist, to be sure. Mom’s practice was to trim off the crust and toss it into the dog’s bowl.

Wheat bread is a perfectly acceptable alternative to white. Some people chill the tomato first. Or toast the bread. Or turn their sandwich into a BLT.

Some persons of a less refined palate even substitute Miracle Whip for mayonnaise.

But no matter how you slice it, a tomato sandwich is a delightfully satisfying culinary experience.

As Mom often pointed out, “Even a bad tomato is better than no tomato at all.”

Bon appétit.

The divine fruit in sandwich form.

The divine fruit in sandwich form.

A classic PB&J.

A classic PB&J.

The Presley PB&B.

The Presley PB&B.

* Elvis Presley’s Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich:

2 slices of white bread
2 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter (not the reduced fat stuff)
1 banana
2 tablespoons of butter

Toast the bread slightly and cool. Spread the PB on one slice. Slice or mash the banana and put it on the other slice. Melt the butter in a pan. Put the bread slices together. Fry in the hot butter until both sides are browned.

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Here’s a great recipe for gurkensalat (cucumber salad):

3 medium cucumbers
1 large onion
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup oil
Parsley, fresh or flaked

Peel the cucumbers. Score with a fork and cut into thin slices. Thin-slice the onion into rings.

In a 2-quart container, arrange the onion and cuke slices in alternate layers, sprinkling each layer heavily with salt. Cover this with ice water and refrigerate for several hours.

Drain the mixture and rinse it under running water. Return it to the container. Marinate the mixture in the oil and vinegar for several more hours. Overnight is okay.

Drain the mixture. Pour it into a clean container, and stir in the sour cream and pepper. Sprinkle the parsley and paprika in your hair.

No! No! Stop! I meant sprinkle it on the gurkensalat!


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