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A weekly dose of nutty history, pop culture, and recipes from Lee Zalben, aka The Peanut Butter Guy.

Celebrate Elvis's 76th Birthday with His PB-Bacon-Banana Sandwich

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[Photographs: Peanut Butter & Co.]

This Saturday, January 8, would have been Elvis Presley's 76th birthday. And while Elvis is primarily known for being one of the greatest entertainers of the twentieth century, we can't ignore his namesake sandwich—the one with peanut butter, banana, and bacon all smashed together.

Nicknamed the "Elvis" sandwich, this collision of delicious indulgence is made up of ingredients that seem like they'd clash, but much like Elvis's music—a dynamic rockabilly fusion of heartfelt country and soulful rhythm and blues—they create something beautiful. The combo is sweet, salty, creamy, and crunchy all at once.

There are a number of versions of the story about how Elvis came to love these sandwiches.

In the one I've always heard, Elvis and some friends were hanging out at Graceland in February of 1976 when someone started talking about an outrageous sandwich they tried at a restaurant called the Colorado Gold Mine Company. This "Fool's Gold Loaf" combined peanut butter, bananas, and bacon in a hollowed-out loaf of French bread, which was then deep-fried.

Elvis was so tempted by the sound of this decadent sandwich that he flew everyone from Memphis to Denver in the middle of the night on his private jet. The sandwich didn't disappoint, and The King reportedly bought the recipe from the restaurant's owner and passed it on to W. Pauline Nicholson, his personal cook and asked her to have one standing by at all times.

I've been racking my brain, and short of a few paid endorsements, I can't think of another celebrity so tied to a particular food as Elvis is with the peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwich.

Have you ever had one? Or do you have your own unique combo that you're somewhat famous for?

About the author: Lee Zalben was a PB&J-loving kid that grew up to be the founder and president of Peanut Butter & Co., which began as a Greenwich Village sandwich shop serving nothing but peanut butter sandwiches and expanded to include the now-famous line of all natural flavored peanut butter. Lee is a graduate of Vassar College and enjoys traveling the world in search of interesting foods made with peanuts, tree nuts, and seeds. When he's not working, eating, flying or writing, he enjoys scuba diving and training elephants.

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