This past weekend, while stopping at one such rest stop, I had a terrible craving for a McDonald's cheeseburger. I eat one maybe once a year, so I figured now was as good a time as ever. I bought it (it cost me $1.19) and scarfed it down in about two minutes, mostly because I was taking the time to check my email on my phone.
Back on the road, I began to think about what makes those crappy little cheeseburgers so appealing. I won't say "so good", because they're not "good" in any real sense of the word, but there is something that draws you to them. I came up with a few reasons:
- They're cheap (under two bucks)
- You can eat them fast and on-the-go
- The bulk of their ingredients aren't terribly special, but there's a certain...something...to them that makes them tasty. For the McDonald's cheeseburger, the ketchup and mustard combined with those little chopped onions and the pickles, contrasted with the sweetness of the sugar-laded bun, makes for an interesting flavor combination.
- They're bad for you, but in moderation, they can be a "guilty pleasure".
And just as there are a myriad number of different fast food burger joints, there are a bunch of different pulp fiction types and styles, from edgy hard-boiled crime to flashy swords & sorcery, to action-packed men's adventure fiction, and within each of these, different series and authors lend their own special flavors that some people find better than others. And, while I wouldn't recommend a steady diet of nothing but pulp, they can make a great break from some door-stopper of a history book, or never-ending epic fantasy collection.
As for me, although I've had my McDonald's cheeseburger for the year, I'll keep snacking on pulp fiction - at least it doesn't increase the waistline!