On the night of February 1, 1976, Elvis Presley took his private jet from Graceland to Denver and back in one night because he was craving an 8,000 calorie sandwich made from a hollowed out loaf filled with an entire jar of peanut butter, one jar of jelly, and a pound of bacon. Not your average snack, priced at $50, this is the story of how the Fool’s Gold Loaf became the Elvis Presley of sandwiches, King of the PB&Js…
Late one night at Graceland, Elvis was entertaining his buddies from out of town, Capt. Jerry Kennedy of the Denver, Colorado police force, and Ron Pietrafeso of Colorado’s Strike Force Against Crime.
The Denver police who worked as bodyguards for visiting celebrities and VIPs like Elvis, would often take the stars to a favourite local restaurant called the Colorado Mine Company (pictured above), and the three men began reminiscing about a particular sandwich on the menu that had left quite the impression on Mr. Presley. So much so that the music icon decided he had to have one, right then and there.
And just like Cinderella’s pumpkin, Elvis’ private jet was awaiting to take the hungry friends for a midnight snack in Denver.
Elvis’ private jet, the Lisa Marie, along with the Hound Dog II, now reside as permanent fixtures at Graceland.
The Lisa Marie, a Convair 880 named after the rock legend’s daughter, featuring a red-white-and-blue exterior, gold-plated bathroom fixtures, a stereo system, a conference room and bed, flew two hours to a special hangar in Denver where they arrived at 1:40am.
Elvis, pictured leaving the Lisa Marie
There, they were greeted by the couple who owned the Colorado Mine Company, Buck Scott and his wife Cindy, carrying 22 fresh Fool’s Gold Loaves. They spent three hours in the hangar eating the sandwiches, washing them down with Perrier and champagne. Presley also invited the pilots, Buck, Cindy and their young cook Nick Andurlakis, who had prepared the sandwiches, to dine with them on board the Lisa Marie. When they were done, they flew back to Memphis without ever having left the Denver airport.
Aboard the Lisa Marie
Because of it’s connection to Elvis and its particularly outrageous ingredients, the Fool’s Gold Loaf sandwich became somewhat of a legend in its own and has been included in numerous cookbooks typically focused around Presley’s love of food. The sandwich was originally priced at $49.95, hence its “Fool’s Gold” name, and in later years, it was priced as high as $65.
Photo by Karl Gehring/The Denver Post
The Colorado Mine Company has since closed, but if you’re curious to try the famous sandwich, you can still find the real deal. The teenage chef who prepared the Elvis’ midnight snack back in 1976, later opened his own joint in Golden, Colorado called Nick’s Café, where he’s been selling the King’s favourite sandwich for the last 30 years.
He also provides the recipe for Fool’s Gold Loaf on his café’s website, but notes that the specific jam used in the original sandwich, Dickinson’s blueberry preserves, is no longer produced today.
“This is no ordinary PB&J, folks,” writes Nick, “Eat at your own risk”. Here’s the recipe:
o 2 T margarine
o 1 loaf French white bread
o 1 lb / 450 g bacon slices
o 1 jar of smooth peanut butter
o 1 jar of grape jelly
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Spread the margarine generously all over all sides of the loaf. Place it on a baking sheet in the oven.
Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a bit of oil until it is crisp and drain it thoroughly on paper towels.
Remove the loaf from the oven when it is evenly browned, after approximately 15 minutes. Slice the loaf lengthwise and hollow out the interior, leaving as much bread along the walls as desired. Slather a thick layer of peanut butter in the cavity of the loaf and follow with another thick layer of grape jelly. Use lots of both.
Arrange the bacon slices inside the cavity, or, if desired, layer the bacon slivers between the peanut butter and jelly. Close the loaf, slice and eat.
Serves one if you’re Elvis. Serves 8-10 if you’re a regular person.