Food on Film: Tasty Burgers and Expensive Shakes

Food on Film is an occasional feature in which I explore some of the most significant food-related scenes in popular film.

The fourth in our series about on-screen edibles focuses on Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece, Pulp Fiction.

Whether in dialogue, setting or digestible props, food plays a major role in this offbeat crime flick. The movie opens and closes in a typical diner, where coffee is in plentiful supply. One might even argue, if not for the caffeinated state of both Pumpkin and especially Honey Bunny, the film may not have gotten off to so rousing a start.

Here are a few other outstanding food moments:

THE ROYALE WITH CHEESE

Probably one of the most classic conversations in any Tarantino film is this gem about the problems of translating McDonald’s Quarter Pounder for countries that use the metric system. I must admit, in these days of half- and even full-pounders, the Royal with Cheese just sounds more appetizing; as if made for royalty.

And as for putting mayo on fries, don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it. I’m not a straight mayo man myself, but using mayo as a base for other fry-dipping sauces… yeah, that works.

BIG KAHUNA BURGER

Another classic. This fictional (or is it?) burger joint piqued everybody’s interest when Jules declares, “This is a tasty burger.” Laying aside the fact that the prop food looks like any burger, I always wondered what a Hawaiian burger joint would offer in terms of flavor. Would the meat be marinated in something sweet and tropical? Would there be a mango or pineapple slice instead of tomato? Is it really that much more tasty than your average burger?

We may never know.

THE FIVE DOLLAR SHAKE

Rewatching this scene, I find it particularly hilarious that a five-dollar shake was such an earth-shattering order.

I just had my first milkshake in years last week and guess what it cost? $4.55. And that’s just from some rinky-dink ice cream shop in a strip mall. Most drinks at Starbucks exceed $5 now and nobody bats an eye. Ain’t inflation grand?

All that being said, I would order this milkshake in a heartbeat. When you get a reaction like that from Uma Thurman, five dollars may as well be five hundred.

Check out previous Food on Film installments:

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2 responses to “Food on Film: Tasty Burgers and Expensive Shakes

  1. This is a great post. I’d never thought about how food was used in the film as a plot and narrative device but it is so true.

  2. Hey, Alex! Thanks for dropping by and extending some much needed encouragement to Food on Film.

    I have plenty more movies to write about, so stick around.

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