Well technically its parmesan, cream, and butter, but that makes a longer title.
Last night I had just finished making some chicken alfredo and just sat down to watch Arrested Development again for the fifth time. I gobbled up my noodles while enjoying the Bluthe family get into another impossible scenario.
Afterword I cleaned up the pots and pans I had used and was throwing out the glass bottle the alfredo had come in when something occurred to me. I examined the fancy label on the bottle. It had all sorts of frills, and an elegant typeface that I’m sure would make any Italian homesick.
Then a thought just popped into my head.
“That’s a fancy label for what is, essentially, just cheese.”
My thought wasn’t wrong. It wasn’t even particularly good alfredo sauce. It absolutely wasn’t the authentic Italian experience it claimed to be.
In fact, if you really wanted to get to the nitty-gritty of things, all I basically ate was noodles and overly glorified parmesan cheese.
But the alfredo sauce wasn’t even that good, and it was pretty clear it wasn’t going to be that good from the price. So why did I get it?
Maybe it was when I looked at that label I saw a little slice of home. A picture of a family sitting around a table with a nice lady serving them all.
The lady on the bottle reminded me of my hard working Hungarian grandmother who was a mind-blowing cook. Maybe when I saw it, for just a moment, I was taken back to being a kid in Hungary being called to called to the dining room for supper. The sounds of family laughing and plates clinking filled my ears, and the smell of roasting chicken was thick in the air.
Or it could be that the big wigs at big alfredo know what struggling 20 something in North Carolina wants to see. Because, again, when you take away the bottle, all you are left with is cheese.
Cruddy, stale, flavorless cheese that was made from the milk of a hormone-ridden cow somewhere in Wisconsin.
But the label told me something else. It told me “Welcome home.”
Moral of the story, most of the time things are what you make them. Plain and simple.
Life is neither fully good nor fully evil, it just is. That is why perception is so important, and realizing that we have more control over perception then we may think.
The bottle of alfredo wasn’t selling me alfredo, it was selling me a memory and a meal. A warm, creamy sauce over some hot noodles and maybe a little bit of chicken. An invitation to enjoy an evening in and enjoying this meal in the company of one of the best shows ever made.
The flip side of that is that I got this bottle and some dollar noodles because they were cheap, and I was eating at home because going out merely wasn’t an option. And that the only company I had was some old tv show because none of my friends could come over to talk.
Either way, I was eating some alfredo at home that night.
We are continually writing our own story. We may not always control what comes into our lead character’s life, but we decide whether he will be living in a comedy, fantasy, or drama.
As for the remainders of my alfredo dinner, they ended up in the trash and the bottle in the recycling because the alfredo, was all along, just cheese.