Today’s post is rather fitting for Martin Luther King Day—Dr. King was quite the influence on Elvis Presley; it was MLK’s death only two months prior to the NBC broadcast of Elvis (a.k.a. the 1968 Comeback Special) that inspired “If I Can Dream,” the closing number. In fact, direct quotes from Dr. King are included in the lyrics.
I learned this when I visited Graceland in September, there was an exhibit on that telecast. Speaking of Elvis ’68—how have I never seen the entire thing? I mean, Comeback Elvis is the hottest Elvis:
SWOON. For serious. Was there any more beautiful man than Elvis in 1968?
I am a sucker for well-deployed sideburns, kittens.
Anyway, you can learn more about “If I Can Dream” from wikipedia. But before you go do that, let’s tuck into some of Elvis’ Country Kitchen Soup and Mustard Greens with Potatoes, from the cookbook Are You Hungry Tonight?
I did not do anything to modify the original recipe, with one exception: it was so much cheaper to buy bone-in pork chops and cut them up myself. The bones and fat I put aside and froze; and eventually used to make an excellent pork and egg congee.
With the greens, I used pork bacon instead of salt pork, because, even though I know what that is, it is weird to go and just buy a giant blob of fat from Safeway. And, although they do carry mustard greens at the store, they were short by a long shot, so I filled it in with collard greens.
The results? I’ve made better greens. You can see my very own recipe for Electoral Collards for a better greens recipe.
But the soup was great: yeah, it was pretty basic. And really easy because of the Lipton onion soup mix (I was dubious—I thought it would make it too salty). But what made this soup sing was the pieces of real pork and the frozen okra. This wasn’t your regular ol’ veggie soup. This had heft. It had weight. It had real, round, rich, flavor. Which is what I imagine Elvis would want in a soup.
Like so many other soups, it tasted better the longer it sat. Added plus: this soup froze beautifully and was just as good every time I reheated it. I highly recommend this recipe.
Here is Elvis getting his gospel on with “If I Can Dream.”
It really is a great song.