The first time I ever had fondue was New Year's Eve, 2000. Some friends and I went out and bought 2 fondue pots and then we went to the grocery store and picked up some meat and vegetable oil. Then we went to the cheese counter and asked what they recommended for fondue. They recommended Gruyere. I wonder, can you see where this is going?
Vegetable oil isn't good for cooking at high tempuratures. It smokes, and it stinks to high heaven. Gruyere is not what you would call a mild cheese. In fact, that night, as it cooked, my friend Bethany said, "This cheese smells like scratching your ass." And that was true. None of the rest of us were going to say it out loud, but that was, in fact, exactly what it smelled like.
By 10, I had a headache so severe that I went to be early and missed the new year.
Several years later, when Thomas recommended doing a fondue night, I thought, "WHY? Why would anyone do that?"
But it turns out that the secret is peanut oil and brie. Much better taste to stink ratio.
So last night, we hosted our 2nd annual New Year's Fondue (or, as Thomas insists, Fun-due) Night. We added a chocolate pot for the first time this year and it was highly successful. Steak, tuna, chicken, vegetables, fruit, rosemary bread and little smokies. Yum.
Just after our first post-midnight sip of champagne, we somehow coerced the entire party into several renditions of "I'm Driving Down Highway 40 in my Big Old Pick-up Truck," including one for the benefit of my parents who had called to wish us a happy new year and I think were quite baffled by the whole thing.
Best wishes to everyone for a very happy 2007.