64. Ham and Cheese Fondue

When I returned to Baltimore from Christmas in Pittsburgh, I did so with a big ziploc bag full of Xmas Eve ham. One woman can eat only so many ham sandwiches so I cubed a large portion and put it in the freezer for later use. And I did find a use for it–in #64 Ham & Cheese Fondue.

Oooooh, fondue!

When I think of fondue I think of this:

Although that doesn’t look like cheese. I think these Swiss folk are actually Satanists and this is some sort of blood-based sacrificial fondue. But damn are they happy about it.

That’s more like it! Cheese, glorious cheese!

 But when Dinner is Served! says ‘fondue’ it means this:

What the hell is that? Where is the cheesy goodness? Where are the tiny forks?

So I did some internet sleuthing. From wikipedia:

The name ‘cheese fondue’, until the late 19th century, referred to a preparation including eggs and cheese, as in la Chapelle’s 1735 Fonduë de Fromage, aux Truffes Fraiches[2]and Brillat-Savarin‘s 1834 recipe;[5] it was something between scrambled eggs with cheese and a cheese soufflé.[6] Variations included cream (‘à la genevoise’) and truffles (‘à la piémontaise’) in addition to eggs; and also what we now call ‘raclette‘ (‘fondue valaisanne’).[7]

So yeah, this fondue is a fondue, albeit one from the late 19th century. And with bread cubes inside. How Dinner is Served! doesn’t include a dippy fondue dish in the series is just  absurd. What the hell, Marjon Promotions? I mean, everyone got a fondue pot as a wedding gift in the 1970s, which is why there are dozens of still-in-the-box fondue sets available on etsy. Right? So maybe more of them would’ve been open had #64 featured Swiss cheese, beer and sterno and not this eggy shit.

Per #64’s recommendation I assembled the fondue the night before. For the bread I cubed 2 Italian hamburger rolls (these were leftover from Pittsburgh Chipped Ham BBQ night). I used all of the other ingredients as outlined in the recipe, although I swapped in skim milk and fat-free shredded cheddar. 

For my casserole dish I chose a Spice o’ Life 8×8 dish from Cleve’s mum. She put frozen Xmas stuffed shells in for us to take back to Maryland (I want to mention that the stuffed shells were quite good. Nice work for a non-Italian lady in rural Ohio).

The fondue chilled in the fridge overnight.

The next day I put the casserole dish into a 350 oven. As the fondue was baking I assembled the salad: bagged spinach, sliced red onion, sliced mushrooms, Bac-Os, and light French dressing.  The tomato soup was simply condensed fat-free tomato soup prepared with skim milk and topped with some chopped basil.

I think that the 8×8 dish is just darling, but as the fondue baked it looked as though using such a small dish might have been a mistake. The longer it baked the more the fondue puffed and puffed and puffed. And although it puffed and puffed and puffed the fondue still seemed a little jiggly (no, not Gigli) in the center. I definitely did not want those eggs to be under-cooked so I added another 3 minutes to the baking time. That 3 minutes became 6 minutes. I wanted the top to brown a little and the center still seemed a bit juicy so I bumped up the oven to 375. 6 more minutes. 5 more.  Eh, it was still a little gooey. But I finally just took it out of the oven. And since neither of us got salmonella I assume that it was cooked enough.

Dinner is Served!

So there’s #64. As you can see, there’s no deep dish apple pie. I was going to heat up the last frozen apple turnover for Cleve but I didn’t even do that. So I failed on the dessert-portion of the program. But my salt & pepper shakers are cute!

The salad was fine. The soup tasted like condensed cream of tomato soup. With basil floating in it.

The fondue was OK. It was edible, but it wasn’t something to write home about, either. It tasted all right but the consistency was thick. And kinda weird. Like a bread pudding had unprotected sex with a quiche and this was their love child. But it got the bad genes of both and none of the awesomeness. Like when 2 really pretty people have an ugly baby.

And though you’d imagine that this would be the kind of casserole that you could reheat as leftovers–it wasn’t. It got watery. But maybe that’s because I used skim milk and fat-free cheese. Or just because this was an egg and cheese-based ugly baby. I think that I had another piece of fondue the next day but since it didn’t hold up, the majority of it went into the trash.

Oh well. Next time I make fondue I want it to be FONDUE. Even if I have to hang out with some ski-loving, beer-swilling Swiss Satanists to get the right recipe.

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9 Responses to 64. Ham and Cheese Fondue

  1. iamsurly says:

    I have been to this place called the Grizzly House in Banff Springs a couple of times (http://banffgrizzlyhouse.com)… it is a full-on 1970’s style fondue restaurant with an all wood interior and big leafy green plants (think Jamie Sommer’s apartment) and telephones on every table so you can call other patrons and talk dirty. You’d love it.

  2. Wendi says:

    I had high hopes that the savory bread pudding would redeem itself. Clearly, I was wrong. And yes, your next fondue needs to be gooey melted cheesy goodness.

  3. Laura says:

    I can’t believe it’s taken you this long to get to fondue! I feel like no mid-century project is complete without something appropriate for swingers.

    That being said, it’s more of a souffle/dip than a fondue. I’ll send you my recipe (from a mid-century Christmas book, no less!)

  4. Sign me up for that party of Satanists – beautiful women, turtlenecks, and always full beer!

  5. susiemaeday says:

    I Rosanne laughed at the Gigli line! ha!
    I had the same trouble when I made a quiche with ham. The recipe baked up in the right amount of time when it was just egg and cheese, but add the ham and it was juicy for an extra 30 min!

  6. Lauren says:

    Is it bad that I want to live in that first photo? Next time we go antiquing, I’m not going to let Paul laugh off my desire for a fondue set. I have a new mission in life!

  7. Pingback: April 11 is National Cheese Fondue Day! | Dinner is Served 1972

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