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Slam Dunk

Make Way for the Return of the Fondue Pot

November 05, 2000|LESLEE KOMAIKO

You know the old line about remembering the past lest it return to haunt you? It seems many of us have forgotten the 1970s, because fondue, the ubiquitous fare of many a party, may be making a comeback. We spoke to three Angelenos about their very personal relationships with fondue.

Trina Turk, Clothing Designer

Do you have a fondue pot?

Yes, it's stainless steel with a little teak handle. Very Danish modern.

Where did you get it?

From my mom. I wanted it. Four years ago, I asked her for it.

When did you use it last?

Probably last December.

What did you make?

Chocolate fondue. I like really dark, bittersweet chocolate. We used Lindt, and we sliced a bunch of fruit just for dessert.

What is your favorite fondue item?

I'm a fan of orange peel. You cook it so the acid is cooked out, like candied orange peel. The combination of orange and dark chocolate is really good.

Do you expect to use your fondue pot over the holidays?

Maybe. If you're really into fondue and do it for the whole meal, it's really rich. That's your fat intake for the next two months.

Doug Dutton, Owner, Dutton's Brentwood Books

Do you have a fondue pot?

I would be surprised if I went into my garage and didn't find at least one fondue pot. I was in the Valley in the '70s, and I think that was part of the regalia.

When did you use it last?

It has been at least 20 years.

What did you make?

Chocolate fondue into which I dipped strawberries. A beef fondue for which I skewered and soaked sirloin steak in boiling oil. I think probably after I read "Shogun" I lost my taste for meat fondue.

What is your favorite fondue item?

I once went to a fondue party sponsored by a group of composers that I think included Pauline Oliveros. That's where I first dipped a raspberry into chocolate.

Do you follow any rules when a person drops an item into the pot?

I don't remember any rules.

Do you expect to use your fondue pot over the holidays?

I don't. I don't even know if you can buy Sterno any longer.

Hans-Peter Egger, Consul General, Switzerland

Do you have a fondue pot?

Of course. It's ceramic with cows as decoration on the outside, so when you use it you are reminded where the cheese comes from.

Where did you get it?

I have the luxury of living in a Swiss house [owned by the Swiss government]. The house is furnished with hard and soft furnishings. This is where the set comes in.

When did you use it last?

About three months ago, even though it was summer. Usually we prefer to have fondue when it's colder.

What did you make?

Cheese fondue. Usually I make half and half, a mixture of Emmentaler and Gruyere.

What is your favorite fondue item?

Bread. I prefer a bread with a hard crust. Here we usually use a French baguette. Make sure it gets just a little bit hard so it doesn't flip off your fork.

Do you follow any rules when a person drops an item into the pot?

If bread slips off your fork, you have to kiss the lady on your right. Sometimes they prefer to make sure you furnish a bottle of wine [instead of the kissing tradition]. It all depends on who is around the table. Normally you wouldn't lose your bread at all. But depending on who is at the table, you might want bread to fall off your fork. It's a fairly personal kind of thing, and you wouldn't do it in a restaurant.

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