You can taste the difference.
Gravy made with an OXO cube has no depth. You know the flavor is artificial because you can’t enjoy the complexity and the richness of it.
A gravy made in a classy restaurant however… The smell is more intoxicating. It’s more potent. There’s multiple, subtle flavors. It’s taste amplifies your enjoyment of the meal.
What’s the difference between a great gravy and an average gravy?
It’s how they’re made.
A poor gravy is made from few ingredients, thickened with flour and dished out.
A fine gravy is made by taking bones and vegetables and trimmings, lots of them, and putting them into a big pot. Water is added and over the course of days it is gently heated and reduced. From many litres to maybe half a litre.
What is left is a gravy of incomparable taste.
Our lives are at their richest and most powerful when they are made like a fine gravy.
Our experiences are the bones and the trimmings. The challenges we face are the heat. The water that evaporates is everything we find to be inessential and unimportant.
The best sauces, like life, are made by reduction.