In 1994, I got the chance to see “Pulp Fiction” at the Cannes film festival – I knew at that moment that, I had not only seen the best movie of the year, but that film lovers had seen the arrival of a new genius. Let’s face it, Director Quentin Tarantino had knocked us out with his debut film two years earlier. I interviewed him in Cannes for “Reservoir Dogs” in 1992, and he was engaging, funny and passionate about film. And as great as “Dogs” was, there was no way to anticipate what was on the horizon.
Two years later I got to talk to Quentin, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis and John Travolta in the Casino at the Carlton Hotel in Cannes…and to a person they all knew what they had achieved. Sameul L. told me how he had gone to see Quentin with a cocky attitude because he thought was what the Director woudl like…soon after the audition, his Agent called him to ask what had gone wrong, Quentin hated him! Panicked, Samuel L. went back and acted himself, and the rest is history…
“Pulp Fiction” is a masterpiece, one that it would change independent film forever – and it would return John Travolta to a spotlight that didn’t dim for a decade or more. I was also taken by how classy and pleasant Travolta was, both before and during his interviews…he knew that his day in the spotlight was over, and he seemed happy to be working in the world of independent film…of course, “Pulp” put him right back in the mainstream…that’s the business.
So my way of celebrating just how brilliant the movie is? Let’s focus on the food!
“Wanna know what they call a quarter pounder with cheese in Amsterdam? A cheeseburger royale. Wanna know why they call it that? Because of the metric system.”
From the “Le Big Mac” dialogue, to a five-dollar shake, to the opening and closing scenes at the same diner, Tarantino packed “Pulp” with food. For example, remember when Samuel L. (Jules) and Travolta (Vincent Vega) show up to shake down the young punks holed up in the apartment – eating burgers?
Jules: Hey kids! How you boys doin’?
[to man laying on the couch]
Jules: Hey, keep chillin’. You know who we are? We’re associates of your business partner Marsellus Wallace. You do remember your business partner don’t you? Let me take a wild guess here. You’re Brett, right?
Jules: I thought so. You remember your business partner Marsellus Wallace, don’t you, Brett?
Brett: Yeah, yeah, I remember him.
Jules: Good. Looks like me and Vincent caught you boys at breakfast. Sorry about that. Whatcha havin’?
Jules: Hamburgers! The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast. What kind of hamburgers?
Jules: No, no no, where’d you get ’em? McDonalds? Wendy’s? Jack in the Box? Where?
Brett: Big Kahuna Burger.
Jules: Big Kahuna Burger. That’s that Hawaiian burger joint. I hear they got some tasty burgers. I ain’t never had one myself. How are they?
Brett: They’re good.
Jules: Mind if I try one of yours? This is yours here, right?
[Picks up burger and takes a bite]
Jules: Mmm-mmmm. That is a tasty burger. Vincent, ever have a Big Kahuna Burger?
[Vincent shakes his head]
Jules: Wanna bite? They’re real tasty.
Vincent: Ain’t hungry.
Jules: Well, if you like burgers give ’em a try sometime. I can’t usually get ’em myself because my girlfriend’s a vegetarian which pretty much makes me a vegetarian. But I do love the taste of a good burger. Mm-mm-mm. You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in France?
Jules: Tell ’em, Vincent.
Vincent: A Royale with cheese.
Jules: A Royale with cheese! You know why they call it that?
Brett: Because of the metric system?
Jules: Check out the big brain on Brett! You’re a smart motherfucker. That’s right. The metric system. What’s in this?
Jules: Sprite, good. You mind if I have some of your tasty beverage to wash this down?
Brett: Go right ahead.
Jules: Ah, hit the spot.
Thanks to the website Movierecipes.net, here is the recipe for the burger in the movie!
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons spoonable Thousand Island dressing
1 pound lean ground beef
8 slices American cheese
4 kaiser rolls, split and toasted
4 large lettuce leaves
1 large tomato, sliced
4 slices purple onion
12 dill pickle slices
Preheat grill. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise and salad dressing; set aside. Shape meat into 4 patties. Grill patties over hot coals 3 to 4 minutes on each side or to desired doneness. Top each patty with 2 cheese slices; cover. Continue grilling until cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.
Spread 1 tablespoon reserved dressing mixture on each roll. Fill with cooked hamburgers and top with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles as desired. Serve immediately.
Stove top method: Cook patties in skillet on medium-high heat 4 to 6 minutes on each side or to desired doneness. Place cheese slices on top after patties are flipped and melt while patties finish cooking.
There you go, have a burger and watch “Pulp Fiction” for the 54th time…it’s still as tasty as always…