All we have for dinner is fondue

When the boys realize we are going to have a fondue dinner, they get excited. So do their parents.

I like it because even though there is a lot of prep work, everyone helps with the cooking. And we have to wait for the food to cook, so we have some good conversation around the table while the meat and vegetables simmer in the broth.

We’ve tried a few different recipes, but the one we like most is a broth based on a recipe I found online. We usually cook the same vegetables—mushrooms, zucchini, and broccoli—along with shrimp, Andouille sausage, and chicken.

Leo and Daniel used to watch, sitting strapped into seats at the table, but now they are old enough to place their fondue forks carefully in the broth.

The other night we were sitting and waiting for the next batch of meat and veggies to cook when Daniel slid out of his chair.

“All we have for dinner is fondue?” he said, throwing his hands up in despair. “Are we poor or what?”

John and I didn’t know what to say. I looked at the sea of dishes on the table and the shining pot full of steaming broth and struggled to find words.

Eventually we assured him that we are not poor, that we are blessed to have food to enjoy, and that fondue is actually a great dinner. My only guess was that he thought it was taking too long to cook.

The next day at Mass John handed Daniel the money for the collection, and he happily dropped it into the basket. Then he said in a whisper that echoed through the church, “Are we poor now?”

It makes me wonder whether we are talking too much or not enough about people who do not have enough food to eat. We want the boys to be aware that we are grateful for what we have and we need to share it with those who don’t have as much.

Daniel listened to his father. And he might have believed him—until that night when we had fondue again.

Well, you know what they say. It’s easier for a 4-year-old to fit through the eye of a needle than for him to have to wait a few minutes for a hot piece of sausage.

Coq au vin broth

1 box of vegetable broth

1 cup red wine

1 bunch scallions

3 mushrooms, sliced

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat vegetable broth on stove to simmering. Add red wine, mushrooms, garlic, and pepper. When it boils, add the scallions, and pour the broth into the fondue pot.

The broth works with a variety of meats and vegetables. We have used potatoes, but they take longer to cook and our boys aren’t potato eaters.

We typically sprinkle some salt-free Cajun seasoning on raw peeled shrimp and raw bite-size pieces of chicken. Always make sure the shrimp and chicken is fully cooked before you eat it. We serve blue cheese dressing for dipping the cooked meat and vegetables, but they’re delicious on their own, too.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.