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Fondue Anyone?
Monday, Apr. 26, 2004, 8:19 p.m.

QUESTION: Where's the cheese?

WHAT I LEARNED: Everything old is new again.

Finally – an original dinner idea.

My response to the daily question – what are we having for dinner? – can result in some culinary angst. Actually, I would like someone else to tell me what I am having for dinner so I could just show up at the table with my appetite and a less cluttered mind. In this fantasy, the meal would be healthy, delicious, and require no preparation or clean up on my part.

In reality, I usually have to come up with some choices. It’s really a litany of sorts. I chant a choice. The family chants a response. This can go on until I run out of options or hunger overcomes us. It’s an interactive approach but provides no real graces or blessings – beyond the eventual provision of some sort of evening meal, which is something after all.

Last night, I received an inspiration. Fondue! I will provide an exciting fondue party for the kids and I, as my husband was working late. He might not appreciate an exotic meal consisting of nothing but cheese and bread but the kids will be willing to sign on for an adventure in dining. And they were. Off I went to the grocery for the easier dinner I will ever make.

I like fondue because you can buy it at the grocery and it comes from Switzerland. It’s convenient yet continental. I don’t like it because it cost $8 a box but it works out because the only other thing you need (besides some little pointy sticks) is a loaf of bread cut up into cubes and voila – instant glamour meal. I also have a fondue pot. It hasn’t seen the light of day for 20 years. It was stashed away in the garage and required some digging, and washing up upon retrieval, but there it was – my little red electric fondue pot – ready to party. Bring it on - it seemed to say.

And we did.

15 minutes later I was sitting on the floor in the living room and popping cheese-covered French bread into my mouth as my kids gave fondue a try. Fondue was soon deemed a mealtime success and was placed on the family list of good things to eat. I was harkened back to my own teenage years, except somehow I had traded chairs with my mom. Fondue was cool in the 70s. My mom knew how to throw a family fondue party too. The mainstay of her fondue party platform was the standard cheese fondue – straight from the grocery shelf. However, she did make a wicked chocolate fondue dessert concoction that was great for cool teen parties. Now, here I was following in her footsteps with good result using the no-fail classic cheese fondue approach and not even a whisper of a chocolate chaser.

2004 or 1970 – fondue says cool. This was eight bucks well spent.

image from in-newyorkmag.com

I do think I allowed the ambiance of the meal to be somewhat diminished by watching the Trading Spacing – Home Free marathon leading up to last night’s grand finale during the meal. I billed it as a fondue TV party. It worked in the 1970s and it can work today. Flexibility is my middle name.

Do you fondue?

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