Is there something about packaged foods that gives us comfort over their free-growing counterparts? Of course — it’s someone taking care of us, telling us what is safe, telling us what is good for consumption. We don’t want someone telling us what to eat, heaven forbid, but give us a grocery store full of aisle on aisle of colors, numbers, lists, and we’re set. Free.

That’s freedom, right? Here’s a box of powder: you can buy it if you want! Here, I’ll show you; it’s easier than the other foods, all you gotta do is add water, there’s a guarantee it’s delicious — sugar, maybe chocolate. Or vanilla, you get to choose.

Choose me, please, god of your own will; you can find out I’m the best deal, just check the tag. Oh god, yes. Pudding, I’m easy. I’m nearly eternal. Shelf stable. Reliable. Close your eyes and use your spoon, your tongue, you won’t even need your teeth. I’m your pudding, I’m yours, I’m yours, I’m you, I’m, I’m — so easy, so cold, so cost-effective.

What is the need for need? I am your god now. Pudding. Buy me. Get addicted to me. You never owned me. The gag is there was never any choice to begin with. I will be with you when you’re sick and dying. Chocolate or vanilla? We’re all the same here. I will let you decide. That is my gift to you. I’ll be a gentle god, I go down easy, you won’t have to think about me. Last item in your pantry, when you’ve moved on to other things. It will be too late for a healthy revelation. I’m still here to remind you: there will always be a moment of weakness. It’s only $2.99 away.


Pudding is fancy. Anything can be fancy. Put at scale. Put in fancy lettering. The lettering is what’s most important.

It’s like in Vegas. We make a night feel like Prom even if you’re 65. It can always be Prom Night in America. Everything can be fancy. Anything can be ancient. Just like a diner is a symbol for something thousands of years old. Or at least it feels that way.

Or McDonald’s is the sustenance we need. Or Starbucks. There is something epic in the scale of fast food. The distance it travels. It’s pervasive, ruling our landscape, keeping us safe – a touchstone for home. We can always go home. To Starbucks. To pudding.

We leave the Mojave Desert, terrified by how vast it is. How we could’ve died if we had run out of gas. We need to kiss solid ground. To still our sealegs. To kiss Starbucks.

What does the safety mean or why safety? What’s so scary? Why are our parents so scared of us not having cell service? To be off in the Desert feels like something I’ve never done in America. To be places where I can’t easily contact someone, or buy tempeh. People still live like this. So what’s so scary?

It’s unfamiliar. Pudding is familiar. But let’s dress it up a bit. Make it feel bougie. Put it in script with an ombré background and an essential oil diffuser pumping lemongrass to really set the vibe.

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