The Milano: An Ode to Pepperidge Farm

I bought a bag of Milano cookies on a whim the other day at the grocery store. This is totally unlike me. I never buy cookies. Not usually. If I’m going to buy something sweet, it’s always ice cream. But store bought cookies? I can safely say that I’ve never bought store bought cookies in my entire life. Well, I used to be able to safely say that. Now it’s not true anymore. Now I can’t even say that I’ve only bought store bought cookies once. But I’ll get to that.

I brought my groceries home, started unpacking everything, and when I saw this bag there I just kind of made this puzzled face, kind of scratched my head a little, thinking, “Milanos? What inspired me to pick up a bag of Pepperidge Farm Milanos?” I didn’t even know where to put them, like, there’s no specific drawer or kitchen cabinet where I felt they naturally belonged. So I just kind of pushed them to the side.

As the days passed, every now and then I’d look over at the bag and just kind of laugh to myself, ha, talk about random, Milanos. And I never got the urge to eat any. Not once did I look longingly at the bag and think, man, I’d love to just go to town on that sack of Milanos.

But then I had three days off from work. I’m a restaurant worker, and so my days off don’t always coincide with the rest of the world’s days off. Add to those days off a severe three day long cold snap and I found myself with all the right excuses to spend seventy-two hours completely holed up inside. I didn’t want anything to do with the outside world.

I had enough groceries for a while. I ate all of the eggs in the fridge, most of the canned goods. But by day three supplies were dwindling. I felt bad calling out for delivery; the only reason I hadn’t gone out was because it was so cold, like single-digits cold, so cold that I couldn’t bear to be outside myself for more than two minutes. How could I possibly call up a restaurant and force them to send somebody out on a bike to bring food to my house? It’s always awkward, when it’s pouring rain, when it’s freezing cold, and you get a knock on the door and it’s some delivery guy, shivering, soaking wet, “Thanks a lot boss! Here’s three dollars!”

There were like three containers of leftovers in the fridge that, when combined, almost made up a whole plate of food. I microwaved the whole dish hoping that it would be enough to satisfy my hunger. It wasn’t. I started getting desperate, looking through the cupboards, nothing. At last I turned my head to that far spot on the counter. The Milanos.

“Maybe I’m not hungry,” I tried convincing myself, “maybe I only need a little dessert, something to wrap up the meal, take my mind off the hunger.” I opened the bag cautiously. Why cautiously? Because I know myself with sweets. If I really like sweets, it won’t even be a slippery slope, it’ll be a precipitous drop, zero to sixty. That bag wouldn’t stand a chance. I reached in for a cookie.

I hadn’t had a Milano in so long, I had all but forgotten what it felt like to sink my front teeth into those perfectly crisp golden wafers. How do they get the cookies to have just the perfect amount of crunch? I looked on the bag for what I assumed had to be an ingredient list jammed with preservatives and chemicals. But nothing. “Baked with no artificial flavors or preservatives,” it read right on the packaging. And then I started reading the rest of the bag. Each side had a different story. One of them started out, “Ahh … yes. The Milano.”

And I just pictured myself sitting on a plush velvet couch, draped in nothing but silk robes, the very definition of pleasure and comfort. And I’m covered in cookie crumbs, those little paper dividers keeping one level of Milanos separate from the other, they’re everywhere. And I’m getting anxious, I’m worried that I’ve done it, that I’ve exhausted my supply of Milano cookies. But I’m so fat from spending God knows how long sitting on that ridiculously comfortable couch … did I say velvet? It’s actually a suede couch. Even more comfortable. And I’m rolling around from side to side, throwing wrappers in the air when, finally, thank God, a full box, unopened, and I hold it up in front of me and whisper, “Ahh … yes. The Milano!”

And by the time I was done with my Milano induced daydream, I realized that I had eaten the entire box. I couldn’t believe it. The ultimate Pepperidge Farm binge. And I had only gotten through one side of the box. I needed more. More Milano.

I got up and sprinted toward the grocery store. To hell with the cold. I didn’t care if I hadn’t brushed my teeth yet, if I was still wearing pajama bottoms. I headed right to the cookie aisle and grabbed as many Milanos as I could fit into the basket. “Excuse me,” I grabbed some clerk’s attention, “Do you guys sell Milanos in bulk?” They didn’t. No time to get to Costco.

From the other side of the box, “Entertain inspirations. Embrace decadent cravings. Reward yourself. Open … Taste … Delight.” Yes, yes, yes! I felt like everything I’ve been looking for in life, the questioning, the search for answers, for meaning … it had all been right here, this Milano bag. These cookies have changed my life. I don’t need anything else. I don’t want anything else. Or anybody. I don’t care what I look like or what anybody thinks of me. As long as I have my Milanos. I’ll never run out of ideas for things to write about ever again. It’s going to be all about Milanos, every day. Thank you Pepperidge Farm.