By Jennifer Greuel and Hannah Harvey, Minot
Our aunt Tammy, who passed away almost 20 years ago, loved Christmas. Although she enjoyed many Christmas activities, one memorable tradition she started was fonduing each Christmas Eve. When our parents were first married, they would sometimes spend Christmas Eve with our aunt, and liked the tradition.
Growing up in a military household, we did not always have family around us to celebrate the holidays. Even when we did, there were always other friends whose families were thousands of miles away. So we added a new idea to my aunt’s tradition. Every year we invite a new family (as well as old friends) to partake in the festivities with us. As part of the fun, we do a Christmas gift exchange with all of the families present, except we never tell the new family. This way, each member of the new family receives a Christmas present without giving anything in return. It really reminds us of the reason for the season.
We fondue with vegetable oil – you can cook almost anything in it. We cut up a variety of raw vegetables and meat to be fondued. Meat can be fondued raw, but we usually cook the chicken beforehand, just to be extra safe. We place the fondue pot in the middle of the table with mountains of food around it and everyone visits as we sit around and cook the food. As we celebrate with lots of friends, there is also a variety of appetizers and desserts to eat along with the fondue to tide everyone over while the food is cooking.
Although we usually cook with oil, there are many other ways to fondue with family and friends. Some people fondue with cheese, tomato base, broth, chocolate, caramel and even marshmallow. For a savory fondue, you can cook seafood, chicken, beef, ham, sausage and any kind of raw vegetable. When we have fondued using chocolate, we have dipped fruit, chunks of cake, cheesecake, marshmallows and pretzels.