Searching for Perfection (In a Box of Macaroni and Cheese)

Nobody’s perfect. Not even me.

Over the years I’ve made a lot of macaroni and cheese. You’re probably thinking, “Hey, we’ve all made lots of macaroni and cheese.” But what I’m telling you is I’ve made A LOT of macaroni and cheese! I was single until I was 40 years old, so I probably made macaroni and cheese at least once a week for twenty years. And now I’m a dad; kids love mac and cheese.

I’ve got more experience making macaroni and cheese than just about anyone. You’d think I would be able to make a perfect box of macaroni and cheese every single time.

Nope. Something almost always goes wrong.

You say, “Really, how hard can it be to make a perfect box of macaroni and cheese?” It’s tougher than you think. Just keeping all the noodles together can be problematic. Noodles can get away at several steps of the process, such as: 1) When pouring the dry noodles from the box to the pot, a noodle or two might miss the pan. 2) You might get a noodle that sticks to the box. 3) While trying to stir the noodles, some might escape over the edge of the pot. Or 4) When draining the water, sometimes noodles will spill out, or squeeze through the holes in the colander.

Of course, there’s more that can go wrong besides noodles getting away. You could undercook the noodles. You could overcook the noodles. You could put in too much milk, leaving your macaroni and cheese a little soupy. You could put in not enough milk, leaving your macaroni and cheese a little dry. Or, probably the most common problem, the cheese sauce won’t mix in quite right, leaving you with random glops of bright orange powder.

Perfection isn’t easy.

But hey, who says we have to be perfect every time? Sometimes just trying to be perfect is good enough. Steph Curry is widely regarded as the best shooter in the NBA, but he has only had one season in his career where he made more than half of his shots. No baseball player has gotten hits on more than four out of ten tries for an entire season since Ted Williams in 1941. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees set a record for percentage of passes completed this season, but he still threw incompletions on more than one out of every four throws.

Perfection isn’t easy. But, we don’t have to be perfect every time. If we make a mistake, we just need to move on and try again.

And hey, if you add enough cheese, everything will turn out just fine.

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