Frank’s hot sauce, Sriracha chilli sauce, Hidden Valley ranch dressing: according to Influenster, a website that reviews consumer products, these ranked as some of the United States of America’s favourite condiments.
The most-liked condiment in Michigan was jarred Alfredo pasta sauce. Specifically Bertolli Creamy Basil Alfredo with Aged Parmesan. Wait, what?
You’re not the only one.
“It’s not that I don’t like pasta or Bertolli sauces or their other products. Some are pretty good. Though sauces can fit into the condiment category, I just don’t consider it one,” a writer for the Detroit Free Press says. “I wouldn’t think of dousing a plate of pasta with ketchup, something I dip French fries in. Nor would I cover pasta with ranch, something I use a few tablespoons of to dress a salad or use as a condiment for serving with hot chicken wings. And I certainly wouldn’t cover something with mayonnaise that I’d normally use a spread or condiment.”
And it’s not just Michigan: the same Alfredo sauce was also the most buzzed-about condiment in Indiana.
So the question is: What are we waiting for?
I, for one, have never tried dipping a carrot stick or a potato chip into jarred Alfredo pasta sauce. Maybe it’s delicious and how will I know unless I try?
First, I would actually have to come over my aversion to buying prepared pasta sauce—specifically ‘Alfredo’ sauce—because I’m a fake Italian and we don’t even know what it is, although it was a Roman restaurateur who made it famous. Back in the late 1920s, when Alfredo di Lelio realized that American tourists ate up plates of a very typical and simple Italian primo—pasta al burro e parmigiano, which even fussy kids love because it’s just butter and cheese and it’s delicious—he named it after himself. How and when this fettuccine Alfredo got so popular in North America is debated. Some say Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, who started up a little company with Charles Chaplin called United Artists back in the ‘20s, had it at Alfredo’s restaurant and when they returned to Hollywood, it’s all they fed themselves and their famous friends.
Although you don’t really see a recipe for fettuccine Alfredo in any North American cookbook until the 1980s, it eventually became so popular that it evolved into a readymade jarred comestible, which was infinitely different from the two-ingredient original sauce, lining grocery stores everywhere.
I think my parents bought it once. And in high school, my go-to order at the Olive Garden was some sort of grilled lemon chicken breast and fettuccine Alfredo. But that was before I became a fake Italian. Still, I could murder a plate of that pasta right now.
But jarred Alfredo sauce as a condiment?