Sunday, November 2, 2014

Let’s Have Some Fondue Fun!

Fondue Cookbook Rick Rodgers

November is no slouch when it comes to food celebrations. Granted, it may not have as many monthly celebrations as October but Peanut Butter Month, Pepper Month and Pomegranate Month are just a few food holidays celebrated the entire month of November. I guess I should mention National Bread Month AND National Raisin Bread Month as well. All fun causes don’t you think?

And then there’s Fun with Fondue Month! Do you fondue? I’m a fonduee from way back. But you know that already because we’ve celebrated fonduing on more than one occasion on this blog. I think the most memorable was National Chocolate Fondue Day back in February when I shared a recipe for Mt. Gretna Chocolate Fondue. Oh yum!

Although I’ve been fonduing since the 70s, I’m not as ancient as the first fondue record I discovered in a book titled American Meat Cooking by Jessup Whitehead. I found this rather “curious recipe” for Fish Fondue in the second edition published in 1884!

Fish Fondue

Chef Jessup has a list of cookbooks to his credit. He was an influential food columnist for Chicago’s Daily National Hotel Reporter and "Chef de Cuisine" at Hotel Monte Sano in Alabama, which opened its doors in 1887.

Oh, and in case your wondering about the rest of that Fish Fondue recipe, here it is:

Fondues sure have come a long way! Even the fondue recipes of the 60s and 70s were a bit more creative than fishy mac and cheese, lol…Don’t get me wrong, some of those “retro” recipes are horrid, fondue or no fondue! Some haven’t change much at all. Take this Noodles Alfredo Fondue recipe I found in The Fondue and Buffet Cookbook from the Southern Living Cookbook Library published in 1972. The coolest thing about this recipe is the fondue pot which is the reason why I chose it:)

Noodles Alfredo Fondue

I was always under the impression that fondue pots were a modernized replica of the chafing dish which has been around for thousands of years in one form or another. Asian Hot Pots would also fall into the same category when you consider Janet Mckenzie Hill’s explanation in her book Practical Cooking and Serving: A Complete Manual of how to Select, Prepare and Serve Food,

The origin of the chafing-dish dates back to the period of unwritten history. Its use was common at least two thousand years ago. Like the brazier, chafing-dishes were once made of bronze and rested on the floor. As occasion demanded they were carried from room to room by means of handles on the sides...the Greeks and Romans—a saucepan of Corinthian brass—was also a species of chafing-dish, having several features of the modern chafing-dish...All of these appliances were a combination of sauce-pan and heat generator. Formerly the heat was supplied by live wood coals or the flame of burning oil. The ancient dishes were intended for gentle cooking or simmering, and for keeping hot food that had been cooked by other means. This is the rightful province of the modern chafing-dish and all other cooking, save that of a gentle simmering, should be left for some more appropriate utensil. This degree of heat, that of simmering, is well adapted to the cooking of eggs, oysters, and cheese, and the reheating of cooked materials in a sauce, the sauce having been first made in the blazer of the chafing-dish.
The blazer, a hot-water pan and a lamp are the indispensable parts of the chafing-dish—the hot-water pan is some, times though erroneously, omitted. A tray upon which the dish may rest, while the lamp is lighted, insures the tablecloth against fire from below.

Many of us think cheese when planning a fondue party. (National Cheese Fondue Day is April 11:) It’s understandable. When you have “played” at a Cheese Fondue of any kind, it isn’t one you quickly forget. Yes, with the right amount of people dunking away at all that melted goodness; ooo la la! But, there are meat fondues too that can be just as much fun. Imagine two fondue pots lighting up the night? Where cheese fondue pots are usually made of ceramic or pottery to help prevent the cheese from scorching, fondue pots used for cooking meat are most often made of metal. Metal fondue pots absorb the heat of the hot oil to cook the meat. Meat fondues are usually served with a selection of tasty sauces. Here’s an International Fondue also from Southern Living. (1972)

Fondue Recipes

See that Fondue Cookbook waaaay up at the top? It was published in 1998. I must say, that Fondue book by Rick Rodgers really manages to introduce the fondue in a whole new light. From the inside cover:

…Rediscover the pleasure of cooking food at the table with your friends and family with contemporary flavors and ingredients-roast garlic, fresh ginger, sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and expresso-are stirred into today’s fondue pot…If you love the classic cheese version try dipping shrimp or artichoke hearts into Italian Fontina and Porcini Fondue…

His book isn’t very big and doesn’t have more than perhaps 50 recipes but, it does give the “newbie” a fairly good introduction to the art of fonduing (I know I’m really pushing my misspelling with these fondue words:) in the present. I’m sure there have been fondue books published since his book but, if you happen to see it at a low price somewhere, pick it up! Here are two sample recipes. It was difficult to choose but I went with the Caribbean Edam and Habanero Chile Fondue and German Sausage Fondue with Apple Mustard Butter because they were the easiest to adjust to page size:) I didn’t include the Hot and Sweet Mustard or Quick BBQ Sauce recipes because they were pretty typical recipes.

Edam Habanero Chile Fondue RecipeApple Butter Mustard

And for you Hot Pot aficionados we have a Japanese Chicken Noodle Hot Pot with Ponzu Dipping Sauce to warm up those future chilly evenings:)

Ponzu Dipping Sauce

I’m so excited to finally present the finished logo I created for Cookbook Wednesday. Frankly, I stink when it comes to graphic anything. Sure, this logo looks basic and simplified, but let me tell you, I spent hours trying to make it. However, the challenge was fun most of the time and I still have all of my hair, lol…I do hope you will dig out those cookbooks and join us. They don’t have to be old, new, or fancy. That’s the thing about cookbooks that we love. No matter what they look like on the outside, or even how splashed their signatures might be on the inside, they hold cherished memories as well as favorite recipes. Grab the logo; Share Your Favorites! And, Wiggle Those Toes while you’re at it!

Previous Fondue Posts
1. A French Almond Custard Fondue right out of Betty Crocker's recipe file.
2. Chocolate Fondue
3. Pizza Fondue from Winners; Winning Recipes from the Junior League of Indianapolis (1985)
4. Brillat-Savarin's Fondue
5. Ode to Janet Mckenzie Hill