The Celluloid Pantry: Fries with Mayo and Pulp Fiction (1994)

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What is it about movie mobsters and food? In Goodfellas (1990) it's Paulie's garlic (see our earlier post) and Henry's slow-simmered sauce, in The Godfather (1972), it's Clemenza's cannoli, and in The Professional (1994), it's the hit-man Léon's milk. There's something in the seamless shift between cold-blooded killing and enthusiastic eating that gives their menace a convincing depth.

The pro killers in Pulp Fiction (1994) are no exception. Vincent (John Travolta, left) and Jules (Samuel L. Jackson, right) are on their way to shake down some college kids who've run afoul of their boss. Vincent's just back from a stint in Europe, and the conversation soon turns to food. He explains that in you can get a beer in a movie theater in Amsterdam, and at MacDonald's in Paris, and that a Quarter Pounder has a different name because of the metric system:

Jules: What'd they call it?
Vincent: Royale with Cheese.
Jules:(repeating) Royale with Cheese. What'd they call a Big Mac?
Vincent: Big Mac's a Big Mac, but they call it Le Big Mac.
Jules: What do they call a Whopper?
Vincent: I dunno, I didn't go into a Burger King. But you know what they put on french fries in Holland instead of ketchup?
Jules: What?
Vincent: Mayonnaise.
Jules: Goddamn!

Frietsaus (Dutch Mayonnaise)
(makes 1 cup)

2 egg yolks
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1 cup sunflower or canola oil
1 Tbs vinegar (room temperature)

Place the egg yolks in a mixing bowl and add the pepper, salt and mustard powder. Beat using an electric mixer, and slowly add a little oil and a little vinegar separately, consistently alternating between the two. (If the oil separates, add a small amount of warm water.) Serve with frites.

- Nora

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The Celluloid Pantry

Nora Maynard is a freelance writer based in New York City. Her recent work has appeared in Salon, Drunken Boat, and The Millions. She recently completed her ninth marathon and her first novel, Burnt Hill Road. Nora wrote for The Kitchn from 2006 to 2011.

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