Eating the Elvis Presley Way

David Adler, ISBN: 1857824121 Published by John Blake, distributed in Australia by Bookwise International Buy

Despite it's unfortunately evocative, or should I say, unflavoursome title and cover photo of Elvis devouring a superimposed tri-level ice cream, 'Eating the Elvis Presley Way' is actually quite a serious, although with large dollops of humor, examination of The King's eating habits.

David Adler's narrative is an enjoyable celebration of Elvis' lust for life and food and one that benefits greatly because of

the author's sojourn across America from Las Vegas to the southern states of the US where he experienced first hand the culinary delights that entranced The King and talked to many of those who knew Elvis and cooked for him.

How many of us can say we had a dinner cooked by one of Elvis' favorite cooks at Graceland, Pauline Nicholson? Well, David Adler can! Sometimes it's a really tough job being an Elvis researcher and author.

While it would be easy to dismiss David Adler's book as a cheap shot at Elvis' unusual eating habits, this is clearly not the author's intent. Adler adds real value to the Elvis story by taking the reader into the food culture that existed at each stage of The King's culinary life.

From the Tupelo backwoods to the cafeteria at Humes High, Army food and the Vegas hotel cuisine, the robust discussion of food, its origins, preparation and relationship to life becomes incredibly interesting and tasty. And what could have been a bland topic is given flavour by the author's frequent humorous observations ("Like his films, essentially fantasy travelogues for couch potato fans......Elvis literally couldn't stomach his movies") and ability to cleverly interweave elements of Elvis' biography into the story.

Adler also makes a number of succulent observations about the role of food in Elvis movies (what he broadly terms "food-sex" jokes).

The book is chock full with many rare black & white photos (including a great one of Elvis and Vernon raising their glasses in a toast) and there are nearly 100 recipes for Elvis' favorite meals reproduced throughout the book. These include the scrumptious recipe for Elvis and Priscilla's famed six tier wedding cake and the 'Love Me Slender' diets.

Among my favorites were the pepper sauce recipe "hot enough to send UFO's flying" and Miss Vertie's Greens. And the story about the $4,000 dollar caviar-and-scotch breakfasts in Vegas has to be read to believed.

'Eating the Elvis Presley Way' was originally published in 1993 with the title 'The Life and Cuisine of Elvis Presley' and inspired the author's critically acclaimed television documentary 'The Burger and The King'.

Verdict: don't be fooled by its title and cover photo. 'Eating the Elvis Presley Way' is an important, nutritional look at Elvis' lust for life and the socio-cultural role food plays for all of us. And it includes the "Sleeping Beauty Diet".

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