Monday, November 3, 2008

Fun With Forks

When I was 8 years old my family took a trip to Switzerland. My grandparents traveled with us in a VW van as we motored over the Alps. Slowly. Our VW van didn't have much power and everyone passed us.

One of our destinations was the town of Zermatt. Nestled snugly next to the Matterhorn, it's a charming little town that is accessible only by train. The entire town is car-free, so all travel within the town is done on foot, by cart, or, in the wintertime, on skiis.

We were delighted with the cobblestone streets, the quaint shops, and the breathtaking view of the Matterhorn. After spending the day happily touristing, we chose an intimate restaurant that was down a flight of stairs, so that the view out the window from our table was of the feet ambling by.

We ordered cheese fondue. My mother raved about how wonderful cheese fondue was and what a treat it was to be able to have it in the country that made it famous. After the build-up my mother had given it, I was disappointed. It had Swiss cheese in it! And it tasted of alchohol. Euww.

(I must take a moment here to congratulate my parents on their forbearance. They put up with this whiny, picky eater (me) and didn't kill me. I am not sure how they managed it. I know if I had young me as a child, prescription medications would be in order. Thanks, Mom and Dad. And for the record, I really like Swiss cheese fondue now.

But to cap the story off, when we'd finished wining and dining (and whining), we emerged from the restaurant into the now-darkened town square and found we'd missed the last train off the mountain. We were stuck. 8 people with nowhere to go. So we started inquiring at hotels. All full. The last hotel we checked, the largest and fanciest, had one room available. The bridal suite. We took it. I know that for my frugal father this must have given him actual, physical pain. But it was the nicest hotel room I've ever stayed in, even if it was a bit crowded.

With this memory in my background, it should have come as no surprise to me that when I first attempted cheese fondue my children thought it was peuuwy. (The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.) But I was able to find a recipe that uses cheddar cheese and no alcohol and it won them over to the joys of fondue.

I made a couple of baguettes to go with the fondue, but it's also fun to have an assortment of dunkers. Ham chunks, crabmeat, shrimp, little sausages, broccoli, cauliflower, apple chunks, mushrooms, and asparagus spears are also good.

Cheddar Cheese Fondue
- adapted from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated

2 cups half-and-half
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
2 tsp dry mustard
1 garlic clove, halved
1-1/2 pounds mild or sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 6 cups)
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
Assorted dunkers

1- In a medium saucepan over low heat, heat half-and-half, Worcestershire, mustard and garlic, stirring until hot but not boiling. Discard garlic.

2- In a medium bowl, toss the cheese with the flour until well mixed.

3- Gradually stir the cheese into the hot mixture, whisking constantly. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth and bubbling. Add salt to taste. Pour into a warmed fondue pot and keep over low heat on fondue stand.

4- Spear dunkers on fondue forks, dip in cheese sauce, and try not to drip!

Any leftover cheese can be gently reheated and poured over vegetables or baked potatoes.


And now, what you really tuned in for, the winners of the Confetti Cakes for Kids cookbook giveaway! (drumroll, please)

1- My Kitchen In Half Cups

2- Kim in AZ

3- Patio

4- Melinda

5- Aimee

You have 4 days to get your mailing address to me. Email me at lynncraigATcomcastDOTnet so that I can get your books on their way to you. Congratulations, winners!

And for all of you that took the time to leave comments to enter, I wish I could have had a copy to send each of you. Thank you so much for you nice comments! And to Ms Anorexic, I'm sorry that I offended you.


VeggieGirl said...

I love Switzerland!! :0)

WHEW, what a tale - I always enjoy reading about your memories, Lynn!!

Congratulations to the winners!!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Now I'm getting nervous . . . I won?! Me? and Kalyn says I won one of her prizes! Incredible!
And Zermatt . . . we loved it! We were there about 10 years ago. Yes, an expensive place except Gorn walk around, talked with a few strangers and found a family who would rent us a lower floor apartment with 3 bedrooms - used and paid for one - for a week for less than the hotel wanted for a night ;) score! We had fabulous fondue several times.
Fondue was one of those things that was really 'in' when we got married in the late 60's and we got 4 fondue pots as presents!
8 in the bridal suite, what a grand picture!

Aimée said...

Lynn! We're having perfect weather for fondue! YUM! I love your family-friendly recipe; I'm sure Noah is old enough to have fun with a fork. Watch out for your eyeballs, everyone.

For the that me? I won?? Sweet!

Bellini Valli said...

I rememeber my daughter not liking our traditional cheese fondue for Christmas Eve...buts she is now a convert and has moved over to our side:D

Peabody said...

Fondue is like the best! I love it so. I first had it at the "hippie" neighbors house when I was a kid. I usually have it every year for my birthday.
Thanks for the recipe.

Rose&Thorn said...

Not diet friendly but sooooo good to eat!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

When we lived in NC there was a fondue restaurant that we always wanted to go to but never did. Your enticing pics are making me wish I had one of these at home now.

JohannaB said...

I love fondue. Haven't had it for years but it was a big deal when we married in the 70's. Thanks for the memories.

Elina said...

I love fondues! Never thought of making it at home... it always seemed to fancy :) Now I may just have to purchase one of these fancy pots for my next party... Thanks, Lynn!

Dee Light said...

We love fondue!! So fun to make and eat. I will have to give this a try. I'm sure my daughter would love to have it with a group of her friends.

Maria said...

We had fondue in Switzerland, up in the was a dream!! I just love the stuff!

Lucy said...

Wow! I've always seen Swiss Fondue but sort of been put off because it often has lots of strange (i mean unknown) cheeses in it and I've wondered whether it would work properly with normal Cheddar cheese. Im thrilled to see a delicious looking version with a recipe of yummy ingredients too! x

Melinda said...

I do like a good fondue, too!

RecipeGirl said...

Great story. I absolutely adore fondue. There is actually a Fondue restaurant here in La Jolla that I have yet to go to. It sounds like it would be a decadent dinner!

LyB said...

Anything dipped in cheese is a favorite at my house so this would be a winning recipe! I love that this uses cheddar, I'll have to try it. :)

Heather said...

mmmm i love fondue! i remember having a delicious alpenzeller cheese fondue in Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland. It was amazing. This looks beautiful!

Mansi said...

we recently went to Zermatt too, and I have to say I just loved the 2 days of peace and being one with nature! brilliant!:)

though our cheese fondue experience was not that great:( but yours looks divine! I'd like to invite you to send this in for my Vegetarian Thanksgiving recipe carnival:)

Eva said...

Hmmm, fondue, haven't had it for ages... The last time was in a Swiss mountain town called Arosa - we hired horse-drawn sledges to get up the mountain where the restaurant was located - a bit corny but with a bunch of friends, it was great fun!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Isn't that nice when you can relate a wonderful memory to a special food?
I am the same way about gelato!

Debbie said...

What a nice story. There is a fondue restaurant in Richmond, Va that I went to years back. Had a blast. Fondues are so much fun!

Gigi said...

Great story Lynn! I just love fondue. Who could resist melted cheese? Yummy!

alexandra's kitchen said...

Oh I haven't had fondue for ages! this looks so damn good. makes me want to host a fondue party.

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Who couldn't love fondue (especially cheese!)? It looks great and congrats to the winners

The Cooking Ninja said...

mmm...I'm so looking forward to Fondue come winter. :) I will have to learn how to make it from my MIL. :)

Martin said...

Fondue is one of the great foods. Warm, gooey, savory/salty--It's a true pleasure. I was introduced to it as an adult, so I never went through the "eewwww, GROSS!" phase.

I'll have to try out the cheddar version. I love my own 5 cheese blend inspired by the Swiss.

Thanks for the fun post!