Happy (insert special occasion here)!

June 14, 2014 § 2 Comments

Writing 101, Day Ten.

Today, be inspired by a favorite childhood meal. For the twist, focus on infusing the post with your unique voice — even if that makes you a little nervous.

Ok, so I am going to say upfront that I am WAAAY behind on Writing 101 posts.  I have about four days backlog to complete and after spending at least half an hour trying to tiptoe and fandangle my way through that DAMN Death to Adverbs post, I am most relieved to find that Day Ten is about food and my own voice (two of my most favourite things ever).  My true writing voice pays little attention to correct punctuation or use of adjectives or ADVERBS and I seem to also be partial to a good dose of capital letters.  My true writing voice is probably more emphatic and passionate than my “proper writer’s voice” which seeks to be more polished and politically correct.

Moving right along.

So the “special” meal that existed in my childhood was FONDUE! (specifically oil fondue, as I later came to realise that such marvellous things as chocolate and cheese fondues existed).  My parents owned an old fondue set which would get dusted off precisely six times a year – once for each of our four family member’s birthdays, once for our parent’s wedding anniversary and once for Mother’s Day (for some reason Dad never really took to having fondues for Father’s Day…).

I remember being terrified of fondues when I was really young, for several reasons.  One being that it always seems a really risky operation to light the fondue burner – pretty much my Dad would pour methylated spirits into a little burner bowl thing and then set it alight with a tiny match.  I was always terribly worried that he would somehow explode his fingers off or that it would spill and the whole table would catch on fire and we’d all end up in hospital with third-degree burns (oh, the drama of a childish mind).

The second reason was that, being an oil burner, food would make an incredible hiss-bang-pop-crackle as it went into the pot, especially at the beginning when the oil was at its hottest – in fact, I seem to recall more than one instance where food actually got REJECTED by the oil (particularly if it fell off the fondue fork) and would get spat out of the pot back onto the table with some terrible WHIP-CRACK noise.  I also remember being burned by spitting oil a few times until it got to the point that I refused to dip my own food in – I would instead skewer it up onto the fondue fork and then give it to my Dad to put into the smoking pot of oil for me.  Writing it now like this makes me wonder how I ever survived the trauma of oil bloody fondues…

Having said that, the food was invariably DELICIOUS.  We were not a wealthy family but a fondue dinner wasn’t a FONDUE DINNER without prawns, chicken and beef.  Mostly my brother and I loved the prawns, in fact, I suspect we loved fondues so much because it was the only time we ever got to eat prawns.  My Mum would make homemade dips for the cooked meat – garlic mayo for the prawns and satay for the chicken and beef – and we would always have a fresh salad served in our one crystal bowl.  More often than not there was also candles.  Basically a fondue was a big affair – such a big affair, in fact, that we even FASTED before fondues at times.  If we knew we were having a fondue dinner because it was someone’s birthday, we would either have an incredibly small lunch or skip lunch all together, and then stuff ourselves silly with all this gorgeous food in the evening.  Ahhh, what wonderful memories!

I could also never get over how deceitful fondue dinners could be in terms of how much you could ACTUALLY eat.  I’m convinced it had something to do with the much slower pace that fondues force you to eat at – if someone piled ten bite-sized pieces each of chicken, beef and prawn on my plate with a side of salad, I would HOOVER it in minutes and ask for more.  But I swear I couldn’t get through more than a few pieces of each meat at a fondue, even if I had fasted at lunch (in hindsight, the fasting probably made it harder to consume more food).  Sometimes I would be lucky enough to convince one of my parents to let me have two fondue forks on the go at the same time, thereby securing a near constant stream of food for me (by the time I’d finished one piece of meat, the second piece was usually ready to come out of the pot and be eaten, at which point I would skewer up another piece of raw meat for my Dad to drop in and hence it rotated like this).

I only tried a cheese fondue once – from what I remember as a child, I think it had some sort of crazy Russian spirits in it?  I remember because my boyfriend at the time ate too much of it and he started throwing up in my parent’s house an hour later (however I was secretly a little bit pleased because I’d just found out that afternoon that he had cheated on me, so vomiting up cheese and Russian alcohol seemed a kind of awesome payback).

Ah, the memories.

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