Saturday, June 2, 2012
Fondue and Artichoke
In the 60's, fondue was all the rage! Cool folks huddled around hot cooking oil in a communal pot on the dining room table. Cubes of beef sizzling on a sharp fork, falling off of it into the pot, sometime-chefs, poking around with the fork to find it and knocking off everyone else's meat. The product often crispy fried as a result, and then dipped in creamy dill or plum sauce. I hated fondue but the pianist liked it and also pursued chocolate fondue with strawberries and cheese fondue with bread cubes. There was always the greedy guy who quickly cooked more than his share of the meat, frequently almost raw, and poked his fork in your product as you cooked it ever so gently. He often put too much rapidly in at one time and cooled off the oil, dribbled the oil on the tablecloth and either burned his tongue, or poked it with his sharp two pronged fondue fork. For those who enjoyed a languid eating style it was a conversational bonanza while your little cube was cooking and a socially satisfying endeavor despite the rampant eater with his mouth full at the table head. I always,in fact, sympathized with the trencherman but restrained myself mightily from copying his technique in deference to the pianist. Fondue is just not a guy thing and mercifully has succumbed to the fast food ethos! The garden at Lotus Island has Globe Artichokes, another clone-like contributor of the Slow Loris eating industry! Sucking and scraping away at the sepals of the flower after dipping in garlic butter, the eater will have to bath and change his clothing to rid the grease and fuzz. Dipping the soft and tasteless bases of the calyx is a greasy act of slow dissection,ridding oneself of the nascent petals which guarantees the rest of your meal will get cold; while filling the garbage pail with the uneatable 99 percent of the artichoke.My advice to artichoke lovers is let them flower into their magnificent purple thistle-like flower head and put them on the table as a table centre with your meat and potatoes!