When I think of Fondue, That 70's Show instantly comes to mind:
Right on, Kitty!
Of course, the episode devolves into Red getting flaming hot oil in his eye and everyone else suffering cheese burns from the molten melted goo. But still, FUNdue it is!
I have to admit that I have some affection for fondue in spite of the fact that when my brother moved out of the apartment we shared post-college he left me no fewer than six fondue pots. I couldn't even give them all away! That incident not withstanding, fondue is generally a fun, festive, inexpensive way to entertain. Plus, it's beginner-friendly; if you can cut store-bought cake into squares, you can "cook" fondue.
As a bonus, it's awfully hard to text or instagram your way through a social function while dealing with pointy sticks and boiling hot liquids, so these recipes can help keep your social gathering social.
We can thank the good people of 1600's Zurich, legend has it, for bringing us fondue, even if we didn't call it that until much later. Fondue has lived a storied life, serving as the national food of the Swiss, where it still (if you can believe everything you read) serves as the "food of unity", which I'm pretty sure is the equivalent of America's deep dish pizza. Fondue made its way to the USA in the mid-1960s as part of the World's Fair, though it still reigns for the Swiss under the slogan "fondue creates good moods", which might be the inspiration for Arby's latest slogan.
Nerd Alert! Do you know what other foods came to America by way of World's Fairs? No? Apparently neither does anyone else. In reality, some foods (like the ice cream cone at the St. Louis World's Fair) may have been introduced on the big stage while others were simply popularized at World's Fairs. Other claims to culinary fame? Cotton Candy (1904 St. Louis), Hot Dogs (1893 Chicago), and Belgian Waffles (1962 Seattle). But we digress...
As you may know, there were once three popular fondue food groups: Chocolate, Cheese, and Oil (for veggies and main dishes). I'm starting to wonder why this dish didn't stick around...
Let's start with cheese:
This six-ingredient dish (including two optional ingredients and the rest convenience or pantry items) is a shortcut on the classic two-cheese melt that still gives that rich, ooey-gooey flavor.
Then there's chocolate:
If the thought of melting chocolate scares you, then this is the recipe for you. It uses the microwave instead of a saucepan or double boiler, making it almost foolproof. Almost. If you are terrified of melting chocolate, you shouldn't be. We have an easy how-to video plus this quick step-by-step from our Ask the Expert melter extraordinaire, Marge Perry.
Finally, the main dish. While classic recipes call for hot pots of oil on the table so that guests can cook their food, we're partial to the updated recipes, which call for dipping cooked shrimp into a decadent bouillabaisse sauce:
Seems far more appealing and significantly less dangerous, no?
Not sure where to start? We suggest, as always, starting with chocolate and working your way backwards. This might be the one time you won't be judged for licking your fingers all the way through a meal.
What recipes do you want to learn about? Come back each Thursday as we revisit the classics in our recipe collection!