Looking for a hearty meal that will bring the whole
family together? Introduce your kids to a nearly forgotten
fad-fondue. You'll have some laughs. Everyone will leave the table
with a very full belly. Best of all, you'll have minimal dishes to
clean up. So dig that dusty old fondue pot out of storage (or pick
one up at a local thrift store) and plan an evening of family
Fondue has its origins in 18th-century Switzerland as a
means of using up stale bread and past-its-prime cheese. The French
word "fondue" means to melt or blend. The melted cheese was kept
warm in an earthenware pot and diners dipped their utensils
directly into the sauce.
This communal cooking method had its heyday in the 1960s
and '70s when it became popular at dinner parties. This social
style of eating is a great icebreaker because the diners can't help
but interact with each other (which also makes it perfectly suited
for a weeknight dinner at your kitchen table).
When you introduce your family to fondue, you can stick to
Alpine tradition and simply dip pieces of bread into melted cheese.
However, you shouldn't be afraid to modernize this classic communal
meal. For example, dip pieces of cooked pasta into the sauce and
call it "deconstructed macaroni and cheese."
Large pots of melted cheese or chocolate are obviously not
exactly diet food, but you can improve the nutritional value of
your meal by offering lots of healthy dipping options (see sidebar
for suggestions). Try dipping fresh or steamed veggies such as
broccoli or green beans into your savory sauce. Add some protein to
your meal by offering slices of cooked chicken sausage or pieces of
ham steak. Pieces of cut up fresh fruit make ideal dippers for a
For savory dippers, try:
For something sweeter, try:
Check out our favorite fondue recipes (right) or for more
ideas (including cheesy pizza fondue and veggie fondue),
Caitlin Murray Giles is a full-time mother of three and part-time freelance writer living in Wicker Park.
See more of Caitlin's stories here.
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