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Fondue, Food for the Family

Updated on October 3, 2015
Fondue History in a few short sentences.
Fondue History in a few short sentences. | Source

The History of Fondue

The Swiss Society of Queensland, Inc. states that
"Fondue originated in Switzerland as a way of using up hardened cheese. Deriving from the French verb fondre, meaning “to melt,” fondue was a classic peasant dish. Accounts vary on how fondue was originally created. Traditional fondue is made with a mixture of Emmenthaler and/or Gruyere cheese and wine, melted in a communal pot. Cherry brandy is added to the melted mixture, which becomes a dip for pieces of stale bread and crusts.
French gastronome Brillat-Savarin mentioned fondue in his 19th century writings, but fondue really hit its heyday in 1956, when chef Konrad Egli of New York’s Chalet Swiss Restaurant introduced a fondue method of cooking meat cubes in hot oil. Chocolate fondue followed in 1964."

The Fondue I know and love...

On special occasions like Christmas holidays and 'Sylvester' (31-Dec) my Mom would get the Fondue set out. A little metal pot on a thing that allowed to have something lid on fire under it (it burned something similar to lighter fluid, but I don't even remember what it was), the plates with the big spot for the meats and the little spots for the different dipping sauces, the long forks used to fry the meats in the hot oil.

The table was set, the meats and such cut in the kitchen. The pot would be placed in the middle of the table and my Dad would carefully light up the little burner. It would be placed under the pot and everybody waited until the oil made noise and bubbled.

When the oil was hot enough, my Dad would test it with a piece of potatoe. The potato was actually left in the pot, if I am not mistaking. I think it kept it from spraying hot oil all over the table.

This was a family event and we were looking forward to it for days. My Mom spend hours in the kitchen making sauces (dips) and else. I think I ate more raw meat dipped in those sauces than anything else. It wasn't about the meat for me, it was about the dips! Sometimes I just dipped bread in them or just ate them with a spoon. Still surprises me how she managed to get any amount of dip on the table before we finished it!

We would sit around the table and use the forks to fry our pieces of meat in the oil. I later tried it with different vegatables and especially mushrooms. Did I mention that I love mushrooms and eat them any way?

While I liked the fried meat, it really was about the family time and the dips. I didn't know at the time how valuable that family time would be one day!

If you want to spend some great time with family or friends, here are some links for recipes:

Mom's Mayonaise & The Basic Sauce/Dip

I am lazy when I cook. I like to use the easiest method available. But I have to say that my Mom's home-made mayonnaise makes a difference in how the sauce/dip comes out!

Depending on how much you need, separate the egg yolks from the whites (I just add the whites to my morning omelet or scrambled eggs.).

In a bowl, starting with low speed (if you are using one of those electric things), mix the yolk with a bit of salt and some oil. Add the oil slowly and only add more if the oil in the bowl binds itself to the yolk. If you go to fast, it will turn into what my Mom calls butter.
Keep adding oil until you have the desired amount. Add salt, pepper and a bit of mustard (Please don't use that horrible yellow mustard stuff! There are too many good mustard out there!) to taste. In addition, add some yogurt to it. The yogurt is added on the end and is part of the basic dipping sauce. Do remember that some of the sauces/dips require mayonnaise and leave the yogurt out!

If you don't like to make your own mayonnaise, you can buy some at the store. I rather go with whipped dressing and usually pick the 'light' kind. Mix it with yogurt until you have the desired amount and consistency and still have a bit of the mayonnaise flavor to it.

Preiselbeer Sosse aka Cranberry Dip

Mix a little bit of mayonnaise witha lot of yogurt and add your cranberries. I'm not sure about using fresh ones, but cranberry sauce should go well. I would probably go for a bit more texture and use the cranberry sauce that has whole cranberries in it.
Season it with a bit of sweet mustard (like the Bavarian style), salt, a pinch of sugar and red pepper.
She said she wouldn't add alcohol to preserve the natural flavor of the cranberries.

This is one of my favorite sauces and I can eat it with the spoon!

Senf Sosse aka Mustard Dip

Mix the basic mayonnaise/yogurt mixture with some spoons full of sweet mustard (like the Bavarian style) and a good (preferable German) spicy mustard (horse radish style does OK if you don't have German mustard available). Add a bit of sugar, salt and black pepper to taste.

When looking up mustard, I found out that there is a Irish mustard that sounds like a killer:

"Irish mustard is a blend of wholegrain mustard with honey and/or Irish whiskey."

And, being me, I am thinking about the wide variety of mustards I have been buying at stores: Dijon, Honey, Cranberry, Horseradish, 6 Pepper!
Makes for a killer variety of choices!

Knoblauch Sosse aka Garlic Dip


This one is mayonnaise only!

If you are a garlic fan like I am, you buy the jar of marinated fresh garlic at the super store (the one with water, not oil) and add the drained garlic.

If you are a Woos, you finely chop that or fresh garlic; or you can even turn the poor things into a paste.

Mix the garlic with the mayonnaise and add salt, pepper and a tiny bit of mustard. The mustard is more to look out for your stomach than for taste.

Kraeuter Sosse aka Herb Dip

Mix a small amount of mayonnaise with a lot of yogurt and add the herbs. You can use a frozen herb mix or some fresh herbs. I wouldn't recommend using dried herbs. It just doesn't taste right.

In Germany there is a 8-herb mix you can buy frozen. Some of the herbs in it are parsley, dill, chervil, chives and a few others. But you can go to any supermarket and usually get a good variety of fresh herbs. Just chop them up and add to taste.

Add a bit of mustard, salt, pepper and just a tick of vinegar (a certain super store has a green bottle of German vinegar (I belief from Knorr)!).

Meerrettich Sosse aka Horseradish Dip

Mix half mayonnaise with half yogurt and add horseradish (good stuff!). Season with a little black pepper (she is a big fan of black pepper since it has more flavor to it), a tiny bit of spicy mustard, salt, and a dry white wine.

This is what I call a dip with a 'kick'! Sooooooooo gut!

I am dying to try that with Wasabi!

Tomaten Sosse (or Rote Sosse) aka Tomato Dip (aka Red Dip)

Take a good amount of mayonnaise, add the yogurt and the usual salt and pepper. Get some crushed tomatoes and squeeze them through a strainer until they are almost a paste. Drain the juice from the tomatoes (if you add some fresh herbs, salt and pepper to the juice, it makes for a killer drink) and add them to the mix.
To give it a bit of a kick, add some red pepper, a seasoning like 'Gyros', Emerile's, or something similar, and a bit of red wine.

As always, you season for your own taste! You are the one who has to like it!

Things I want to try out...

How about something with 6 pepper mustard, 6 pepper mixes and Jalapeno Jack cheese?

Wasabi! Green Wasabi dip and white horseradish sauce... Maybe another few spicy kickers in different colors and served on a wheel (of colors)?!


Irish fan me is thinking about this whole Irish mustard idea and the Irish Whiskey is just to die for! Adults only, of course! Maybe find some typical Irish things to add!?

How about a Tex/Mex version with Taco seasoning, diced jalapenos and some other 'South of the Border' influences?

I love this whole International theme idea...
- A Greek version that goes in the direction of a Tzaiziki type dip...
- A American dip with maybe A-1 Steak Sauce?
- A German dip with ... (grin) Bier...
- A Indian dip with Curry and maybe some of the other awesome Indian spices?
- A Russian version would have to have Votka in it and the recipe guarded by the KGB (I'm kidding! I heard a lot of good about their food and would love to try it out!)

or maybe go for a U.S. States theme...
- Louisiana and their great hot sauces...
- Texas would have to be Tex/Mex and have jalapenos involved

Some great recipes here:

A really good sounding recipe!
A really good sounding recipe! | Source

Cheese Fondue

The Mother of all Fondues and really some good food!

Since I am me, I am in for some experiments! And some variety!

Who says you can only use a certain cheese for it? The guys who started this used their leftovers!

How about a 'kicker' with some Jalapeno Jack? May want to add milk as one of the options to drink, if you do not have a copper stomach!

There are all kinds of different varieties of cheeses and cheese mixes out there! You can go with a Tex/Mex version that has the Mexican blend cheese mix available at the 'Super Store'. Or use a Pizza blend and add some Pizza seasoning.

There are so many good cheeses out there. Especially if you have access to a German supermarket!

Pick a cheese/cheeses you like and make something you will enjoy!

Funny how you can read another language and actually figure some of it out!
Funny how you can read another language and actually figure some of it out! | Source

Bier Fondue


Why would you!? Germans like Bier! Not that stuff Americans call Beer, but real Bier! And yes, I am proud to be both, German and American. But, sorry folks, American Beer sucks!

I wasn't quite sure about it when I had it for the first time, but it was actually very good. The dips were great and the things we 'cooked' were interesting.

I continue to stay a fan of 'regular' fondue, but if you want to try this, here is one of the recipes I found:

It seems that Chinese Fondue is very well liked in the Netherlands.
It seems that Chinese Fondue is very well liked in the Netherlands. | Source

Chinese Fondue

This is a way of cooking that probably has a long history in Asia. Also called Hot Pot or Steam Boat, It usually consists of a large metal pot simmering over a fire in the center of the table. A wide variety of meats, mushrooms, wontons, leafy type vegetables egg dumplings, and also seafood is placed either all at ones or piece by piece in the pot.
This is done to keep the heating time short and get tender and fresh meat and such. It is very tasty, but the cooking process still took longer than that of 'regular' fondue; and I am an impatient eater. I guess I am used to eating and leaving, after so many years in the service!

Here my mind goes haywire... White chocolate? Different chocolate flavors? Dipping cheese cake into it? Kids covered in chocolate?
Here my mind goes haywire... White chocolate? Different chocolate flavors? Dipping cheese cake into it? Kids covered in chocolate? | Source

Chocolate Fondue

This would probably be my death! As a German I love Schockolade; and I am for sure not talking about that soapy tasting stuff Hershey calls chocolate.


Considering the amount of flavors of Schockolade you can buy in Germany, this would be a killer party deal! I can see white, sweet and bitter-sweet chocolate adding a colorful touch to a table; and some versions with alcohol in it making for an interesting taste!

And the variety of fruit and such you can use to dip into this fountain of delights straight down from the Gods of Food make it an ideal party deal!

"Other types of dessert fondues can include coconut, honey, caramel and marshmallow."

No, you are not imagining this!
No, you are not imagining this! | Source
Only in America.... Pitchfork Steak Fondue
Only in America.... Pitchfork Steak Fondue | Source

There got to be a Cowboy Version!

Why am I not surprised?

"The nationally acclaimed Pitchfork Steak Fondue is a traveler's delight. Every evening our chefs load steaks onto pitchforks and fondue them western style."

I am dead sure there is a Redneck version were Babba gets the pitch fork out of the barn and the fresh kill from the road and starts the cooking. He'll probably go for the Bier Fondue rather than grease! At least that's what my Redneck friends said when they saw this!

Perfect for 'Sylvester'

Every year around 'Sylvester', which is the last day of the year, we would get together around the table and enjoy Fondue.

And while we were enjoying the food and waiting for the clock to turn to another year, we would also carefully watch the clock for other reasons...
Long before my parents were born a German TV station bought a short clip for just a few Mark. Over the years this short clip would turn into a tradition that brought this TV station Millions; and the clip would appear on every station out there!

The story is short, only 15 minutes, and is about a Lady that celebrates her birthday every year with a dinner with her friends. Since she out-lived them, having buried the last one 25 years earlier, her faithful butler James represents them; taking over quite a burden!

As it is the saying in the clip, it has become a tradition in Germany:

James: "Same procedure than last year, Miss Sophie?"
Miss Sophie: "Same procedure than every year, James!"

After years of not having been able to watch it, because my German video tapes are just not playable on my VCRs, I finally found it on youtube!

Below is the link to it and to a bit of the history on this story of a lifetime!

I hope you take the time to watch it with your family over some delicious food! Or any of the other great traditional holiday movies! And when the clock shows 23:59 (or 11:59 for you Civilians), have a glass of champagne for me and watch the fireworks!

It's a German thing: Fireworks, Fondue, Freddy Frinton and... 'Sylvester'!

Dinner for One or The 90th Birthday


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    • Love4Randomness profile image


      6 years ago from Texas

      Such a great hub, Love it!

    • SilkThimble profile image


      6 years ago from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

      Fondue with the oil and meats was our Christmas dinner growing up, although we never had the selection of dips yo mention. Now I want to try some of them! Cheese fondue is a perpetual favorite - and so easy to prepare.

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 

      6 years ago from Florida

      LOL :-)


    • Cat R profile imageAUTHOR

      Cat R 

      6 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      Lol. Especially with the cheese Fondue!

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 

      6 years ago from Florida

      It is wonderfully informative hib for those who have not had fondue. And i love al the sauce recipes.

      But you forgot to mention what happens if you each too mcuh fondue. If you are an American you know. Eating fondue wisely is a good idea because it cleans the pipes so to speaking squeeky clean.


    • gryphin423 profile image


      6 years ago from Florida

      Great hub on one of my childhood favorites. Those were special nights! Thank you for sharing all the history and varied dips ;-)


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