On the Pasta Water Candle
(and everything like it)
You can now buy a candle that smells like pasta water.
Modern life is hilarious. You now can pretend to have cooked.
You can invite friends and family over, and put on the appearance of having a full life. And if you end up eating something else, the base note of pasta water won’t interfere with your takeout Indian food.
White noise for scent. Bottling up comfort and selling it for $70 a candle. Cheaper than cooking a whole 100 times I suppose, especially if you factor in the time cost of cooking and the additional cost of renting a place with a functioning kitchen that has more than 2 functional burners and space to chop vegetables.
You no longer need to bake bread to enjoy the homey, warm, sweet aura of your grandmother’s home, filled with the actioned intent of nourishing her loved ones with practiced craft. Do you still need the grandma?
How often does modern life replace genuine work and social interaction with vacant simulacra, hopelessly devoid of real meaning? The estrangement of people from human experience, and the desire instead being satisfied by free-market economics is the name of the game for late-stage capitalism. And if the pasta water candle really makes economic sense, will society eventually lose the reference experience? Is cooking subversive now?
The spectacle of modern human life increasingly shows this trend of the inability of capitalism (not for want of trying) to satisfy some base components of health - see the loneliness epidemic and the obesity epidemic. I’m skeptical, clearly.
The absurdity of this candle points to the irony of it all and doesn’t hide behind a veil or plausible sincerity, which makes me respect it more. It’s a statement on the deconstructionist nature of innovation. It’s almost Soma. Packaged and commodified human experience outcompetes human experience itself.
‘Things that were once directly lived, are now lived in proxy’ - Larry Law