Emeril I was not…
I would like to tell you a story about a boy. A boy and his adventure with fondue. Would you like to hear it? Of course you would!
It all began in a great apartment in downtown Portland, on a little dead end street. I had the whole floor of the building to myself – two good sized bedrooms, a dining room, a living room, a kitchen, an office, a large bathroom and the best part – a deck that ran the length of the apartment that overlooked the ocean. All for $630 a month. Well, $630 a month and I had to live over a fraternity flop house. Wee!
Anyway, on Christmas I got a brand new fondue pot from my Mother. I had never made fondue, but since I was new to my apartment she wanted to give me things I could use in the kitchen. I decided to throw a little party for Sabrina, Mary, and myself, to test out the (fondue) pot and see if I could make it work for a larger number of people. Hint: the answer is “nope”.
My pretty Williams Sonoma fondue pot. Except mine was all white. And now, apparently discontinued. Maybe they heard about my story and decided to start with something new?
I decided to do an oil fondue, a cheese fondue, and a chocolate fondue. I went to the grocery store and bought oil and sterno pots and chicken and beef and cheddar cheese and fontina cheese and white wine and french bread and Sara Lee shortcake and strawberries and bananas and pineapple and chocolate and heavy cream. I spent my entire week’s grocery budget on this one meal. I was so eager to impress!
My mom’s retro-tastic fondue pot. RIP.
So, Mary and Sabs arrived and we settled in to make some fondue. I had also borrowed my mother’s old fondue pot from the 70s. It was avocado green and was awesome. I put the oil in my mother’s pot to make the chicken and beef, and started it over sterno. I started to make the cheese fondue. I finished making the cheese fondue. We had a little cheese fondue. I started to make the chocolate fondue for the dessert. I finished making the chocolate fondue. All this time, the oil was not boiling. I added another sterno can beneath the pot. Almost an hour went by – nothing. No boil.
I finally decided to put the oil on the stove burner to get to a boil. Mary and I then stepped outside to watch the sun go down while Sabrina watched the oil. Suddenly, it started to give off horrible fumes. Sabrina starts coughing and yells “I HAVE ASTHMA! I HAVE ASTHMA!” and darted outside. I ran inside to find the oil was smoking, black billows of smoke filling my kitchen. I grabbed the oil and rushed outside with it. I threw the oil over the edge of the balcony where it sizzled and smoldered in the bushes. Short story long, Mary and Sabrina and I ordered a pizza.
Come to find out that the oil doesn’t boil until you put something in it. Had I dropped one of my carefully cut little pieces of chicken into the oil it would have immediately boiled up. You have to heat oil to 257 degrees for it to start to smoke. To put that in perspective, water boils at 100 degrees. Yeah. A few more minutes and the oil would have burst into flames. Probably while we were all peering into the pot trying to figure out what was going on, scarring us all horribly. Yes, good times.
I had to throw my mother’s fondue pot away cause I had scorched it so badly. She was so happy! Needless to say, I have not made fondue since.