Robert Pattinson: A Dispatch From Isolation

Nevertheless, Pattinson says, he conceived of a brand name for his product, a soft little moniker that kind of summed up what he thought his pasta creation looked like: Piccolini Cuscino. Little Pillow. He thought he’d give the product another go, with me now: “Maybe if I say it in GQ, maybe, like, a partner will just come along.”

So he now takes hold of the bag that he’s brought from the corner store, out of which he produces the following:

One (1) giant, filthy, dust-covered box of cornflakes. (“I went to the shop, and they didn’t sell breadcrumbs. I’m like, ‘Oh, fuck it! I’m just getting cornflakes. That’s basically the same shit.’ ”)

One (1) incredibly large novelty lighter. (“I always liked the idea of doing a little flambé, like the brand name, with kind of burnt ends at the top.”)

Nine (9) packs of presliced cheese. (“I got, like, nine packs of presliced cheese.”)

Sauce. (Like a tomato sauce? “Just any sauce.”)

He puts on latex gloves. He pulls out some sugar and some aluminum foil and makes a bed, a kind of hollowed-out sphere, with the foil. He holds up a box of penne pasta that he had in the house. “All right,” Pattinson says. “So obviously, first things first, you gotta microwave the pasta.”

I watch as he pours dry penne into a cereal bowl, covers it with water, and places it in the microwave for eight minutes. He says using penne is already new territory for him. Usually he uses…well… “Do you know the pasta that’s, like, a little, it’s like a blob, a sort of squiggly blob?”

“Gnocchi?”

“No, no, no, no, it looks like—what would you even call it? It looks like a sort of messy…like, the hair bun on a girl.”

“I have literally no idea what you’re talking about,” I say.

“There was one type of pasta that worked. It definitely wasn’t penne.”

Nevertheless, penne and water in the microwave for eight minutes. In the meantime, he takes the foil and he begins dumping sugar on top of it. “I found after a lot of experimentation that you really need to congeal everything in an enormous amount of sugar and cheese.” So after the sugar, he opens his first package of cheese and begins layering slice after slice onto the sugar-foil. Then more sugar: “It really needs a sugar crust.”

Then he realizes that he’s forgotten the outer layer, which is supposed to be breadcrumbs but today will be crushed-up cornflakes, and so he lifts the pile of cheese and sugar and crumbles some cornflakes onto the aluminum foil before placing the sugar-cheese back on top of it. Then he adds sauce, which is red. The microwave dings, and Pattinson promptly burns himself on the bowl of pasta. He sighs, heavily, looking at it. “No idea if it’s cooked or not.” He dumps the pasta in anyway. At this point, his spirits have visibly begun to flag. “I mean, there’s absolutely no chance this is gonna work. Absolutely none.”

The little pillow now mostly built, he pours more sugar on top of it and then produces the top half of a bun, which he hollows out, places it on top of the rest of whatever the hell this thing is, and…begins burning the top of the bun with the giant novelty lighter. “I’m just gonna do the initials.…”

“You look like you’re cooking meth,” I say, because he does.

“I’m really trying to sell this company. I’m doing this for my brand.”

At this point, he accidentally ignites one of his latex gloves, which promptly melts onto his palm. He yells in pain. Then he gingerly holds up the finished product: some approximation of a P, followed by a C, for Piccolini Cuscino, burned into the top of a hamburger bun.