Today fascinating, but utterly useless, food fact.
Today, 11 April, is National Fondue Day in the USA. Not Switzerland. The United States of America.
According to Wikipedia, a fondue is a Swiss dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot over a portable stove heated with a candle or spirit lamp, and eaten by dipping bread into the cheese using long-stemmed forks.
Fondues were big in the seventies. They are back now, but not big. They’re pretty expensive, actually, even if they are quite sociable.
From the French word fondre, meaning to melt a fondue was originally a mass of cheese that had hardened unacceptably and was melted down with some wine or beer and had bread, often stale, dipped into it. Hardly gourmet eating. Sometimes the cheese was dipped in flour before being added to to pot.
These days fondues can be glamorous affairs with luscious cheeses from all over the world in special fondue sets.
Or they can be somewhat more frugal affairs with a very cheesy cheese sauce instead of pure cheese thinned with beer or wine, some squares of bread and a glass of beer or wine to wash it down. One doesn’t even need a fondue pot. A double boiler works fine. Or, if you don’t have a double boiler, a heat proof dish in a pot of water into which an old saucer has been turned upside down. The oven proof dish rests on the saucer and the boiling water does the melting. (Or make it in the microwave oven if you must). Ordinary forks work nearly as well as long handled ones. And the dish is both delicious and reasonably frugal, especially if you’re using cheese that got left out of the fridge and has become greasy, or cheese left at the back of the fridge which has grown hard (but not mouldy – cut mould off). You can also use lightly boiled or steamed vegetables instead of bread if you want to up the vegetable intake and cut the carbs. In fact, it is a great way to get kids to up their veggie intake voluntarily.