The Fondue Dinner

When you move, you unearth all sorts of things you forgot you had.

Like a fondue pot.

We have actually used this (before we had kids) and we have fond memories of fondue nights with friends.

Now wait. When I say “fondue” I don’t mean the classic cheese fondue. That’s amazingly good (as well as the melted chocolate one for dessert) and those were always included with these fondue night themed dinners of the past.

What I’m talking about today is called fondue bourguignonne. Hot oil fondue.

This is where you have an electric pot of hot oil in the middle of the table and skewers and cut up veggies and meats and everyone dips their selection in a batter and then fries it in the hot oil. Then you have lots of dips to choose from! Repeat.

We realized that the kids are now old enough to have a fondue night!

Let’s do this!

We have cut veggies. We have cut meats. The oil is ready. The batter is ready. The dips are ready.

We all sit down.

I explain that you skewer a veggie or a meat onto your long fork, dip it into the batter and then put it in the hot oil to cook for a couple minutes. Then you take it out, put it on your plate and try it with the different dips. Then you do it again with another piece.

You get to cook your own dinner!

Everyone is excited. This is going to be awesome!

First, I need to go over some safety warnings. Oil is hot, etc.

Just as I’m about to start my speech, Crappy Baby jumps out of his chair and walks around the table.

But he is headed straight to the CORD that hangs precariously from the table to the wall and attaches to the hot oil pot.

So I explain about the cord.

I tell them to not go near this side of the table at all. Crappy Papa and I explain all about the dangers of hot oil and burns. The phrase “scarred for life” keeps surfacing.

Everyone understands. They are old enough and mature enough now.

We were smart to wait this long to do this.

Then my focus is once again on the pot of hot oil and the “how-to” of cooking in it. Safely.

I’m pointing at the pot and telling them not to touch it when my finger accidentally brushes up against the handle.

Wow, it really IS hot. We all laugh. At least they know I’m serious!

So we begin.

Everyone selects something, dips it in the batter and gently lowers it into the hot oil.

The hot oil bubbles over our selections. We sit and chat and joke while the first batch cooks.

This is fun already!

A couple minutes later, we take them out and slide our veggies off onto our plates.

But they are hot.

So I explain how to use another fork to get them off.

I taste it.

I do that thing where I make the H sound with my mouth open and my hand in front of my mouth.

Just then, Crappy Baby is skewering an onion and a mushroom at the same time and he uses his hand to push them both on.

And the sharp skewer pokes through and jabs his thumb.

Okay, so the cord is dangerous. The pot is dangerous. The oil is dangerous. The hot food is dangerous. The fork is dangerous.

Crappy Boy sums this up:

And slow. All of this happened after TWO rounds of cooking. Which means we’ve all eaten two tiny pieces of food.

And then!

It gets worse.

For my third round, I select a piece of chicken. I dip it in the batter, put it in the oil pot.

When I take it out, I cut it open to see if it is cooked enough.

It isn’t.

So I put it back in. Big mistake.

The water in the inside of the cut chicken piece makes the oil pot VERY angry.

It starts sputtering and bubbling and making scary noises.

Searing oil droplets are shooting out of the pot like fireworks.

We jump up.

And get out of there.

This is the first dinner where I’ve had to yell “Run away!” from the food.

After just a few seconds, the oil pot calms down. We return.

We are now onto round four of cooking.

Three tiny pieces of food have been cooked and eaten.

We’re scared, but we’re still hungry.

The rest of the dinner is more of the same.

More pain. More laughter.

More warnings of “burned for life” and jokes about “run away!” and counting how many times everyone has said “ouch”. (We lost count.)

After a few more rounds, the kids just start eating the vegetables raw.

Eventually, a bunch of hours later, dinner is over.

Crappy Papa removes the pot of danger and pain.

Once it’s gone, we realize we’re exhausted.

And we promise. Never again.

(We are redeeming fondue for the next generation by having the classic, authentic, much less dangerous fondue later this week. The kids are terrified.)


I don’t always make the best decisions (see above) but asking for your ideas for the Totally Non-Crappy Coloring Book was a rare good one.

It’s available to buy now! It’s charming and wonderful and I’m very proud of it! (And it will arrive before Christmas/the end of Hanukkah/Solstice/Etc. as of right now. Check the item page.)

It could be a holiday gift and it isn’t even made out of plastic that will break in three days.

The details: There are 56 pages to color. The images are printed on one side (the right side) of the pages only. Some pages are more detailed. Some pages are more simple. This is intended for children, but not annoyingly so. This means that you will like coloring in it too.

The best part: I incorporated many of your ideas! Some ideas were rather specific, like “a monster eating a hotdog” or “a t-rex riding a skateboard” and others were more general, like mermaids, unicorns, robots, cars, dinosaurs and fairies. There are quite a few animals wearing clothes. A goat in pajamas. A peacock at a tea party. Even the skateboarding t-rex has a slouchy, striped beanie on. Obviously. And there is much, much more!

The even better best part: This is why coloring books are powerful parenting tools:

Coloring books create quiet, stillness and the ability to drink my coffee while it is still hot. (Even in public places, like a coffee shop or a cafe. It’s true!)

This is a gift to yourself that you deserve. (I mean your kids. It’s a gift for your kids. Wink.)  Combine it with some new markers or colored pencils and you have an excellent gift that won’t make annoying noises, require batteries or puncture your foot when you step on it in the dark. This is truly an unplugged, analog, old-school activity.

Don’t delay! Buy your copy today!

(Did you notice my sales rhyme? I worked super hard on it.)



Thank you for your support! The purchase of this coloring book directly supports me and this blog. (As I mentioned, I do not want to plaster this space with ads. This is how I hope to keep this site going instead.) 

We use and love these colored pencils. These gel pens. These makers.

Disclosure: those are affiliate links. This is yet another small way I fund the work that goes into this blog. Thank you!

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53 Responses to The Fondue Dinner

  1. Eleanor says:

    Me and my kids love fondue dinner, it is the ultimate lazy food. Just chop a few veggies and cooked meats, mix a bit of cheese sauce and it’s done. That said I have not been brave enough to try the hot oil kind yet and this has just reinforced that decision. You are a braver woman than I!

    • Heidi K. says:

      Ditto. We do the melted cheese fondue and I’ve always wanted to try the oil one with a tempura batter but now I’m too scared! LOL

    • Anne Griffin-Lewin says:

      I’ve done the hot oil kind with adults, and it’s fun. Especially for an “appetizer dinner” where not all your food has to be cooked that way. But with kids? No chance!

    • I feel super dumb now, but we’ve never tried cooked meats in the cheese course! (And the cheese course is my FAVORITE one, so I think chicken or something dipped in there would be DELICIOUS!)

  2. Brianna says:

    You had me at animals wearing clothes that’s such a huge hit in our house.

    • amber says:

      Lots of people here (on FB, I think – maybe it was you?) suggested animals wearing clothes! That’s such a fun one.

  3. Jill says:

    I did the hot oil kind once in college but that was enough! Cheese only here.

  4. taryn says:

    I was laughing so hard at the run away part! I will never do this, I promise, thanks for the warning, lol. Congratulations on the coloring book, I bought one for my daughter though I might steal it from her for me.

  5. Heidi K. says:

    I am so glad you are back! I’ve missed your stories so much!

  6. ac says:

    omg this was hilarious, as a french mom (and daughter) fondue is one of the meal i’m really used to, and I feel really sorry you didn’t get to know it in a quieter and safer way! The most important is, the kids are safe ^^ “RUN AWAY!” still loughing out loud!

  7. sam says:

    Three cheers for trying again with the cheese version this week, will you use the same electric pot? Mind the dangerous cord! 😉

    • amber says:

      No!!! We have a smaller pot that has a candle underneath. I already have visions of a cheese disaster. I’m done with that pot of danger and pain.

  8. Olivia says:

    Thank you for the laugh!!

  9. kristin says:

    RUN AWAY! lmao, this had me in tears.

  10. MJ says:

    I’m at work laughing at this like an idiot. I am sure my co-workers are like: what in the world is she laughing about?! Crazy lady!

  11. Erin says:

    First, i loved this post and I’m so glad you are writing again. Second, I’ll happily be one of the first to buy your coloring book! Can’t wait to see if any of my crazy ideas made it in. 🙂

  12. MJ says:

    I’m laughing so hard at work. I am sure they’re thinking: why is she laughing? Crazy lady.

  13. Trish says:

    OMG, laughing so hard at this! Speaking of food, did any sweets make it into your coloring book? That was my suggestion. I want a copy either way but I can’t wait until I get it to find out!

    • amber says:

      Yes! There is an entire page of sweets! Cupcakes, cakes, candy, cookies, donuts, other sweet things I’m forgetting probably. Oh, ice pops with stripes.

  14. llaney says:

    Oh, the coloring book is on Amazon Prime!! Woooo hoooo, my kind of thing to buy!! I think I will order two!!

    • amber says:

      Thank you! (I have an amazon prime addiction. Especially now that I live rurally so I totally get this.)

  15. Sara says:

    The face on the fondue pot and the “I gonna burn you!” had me suppressing my laughter at work! Thanks for the laugh.

  16. nicole says:

    This has happened to me! Not with kids thank god, but years ago we did the hot oil fondue in the fancy pot we got as a wedding gift and I think we had it on too hot or something because it just was so dangerous and scary! I have a dairy allergy so no yummy cheese for me either. I’m fondueless. Love your posts, buying a coloring book!

  17. Antonie says:

    This fondue post made me laugh so hard I got the hiccups!

  18. Jo says:

    Oh lord. You all seem like such lovely people. This made me laugh a lot and you handled the Danger so well! 🙂

  19. Karen says:

    Hot darn, you had me at “hot coffee”.

  20. Amber Waters says:

    That was hilarious!! My 2 kids are probably around the same age, so I’m in the same boat. Btw, I’m am Amber too 🙂 Just ordered your coloring book…the kids need to detox from screen/gaming. My daughter is little artist like me (I’m an illustrator), so she and I will have fun times with this!

  21. Elise says:

    I loved when my parents busted out the fondue and we always did the oil and meat variety but we didn’t have an electric one. So when trying to recreate the fun for my husband I realized I had no idea where to get sterno so we fondued in the fry daddy 🙂

  22. Wendy says:

    We did the oil fondue when I was a kid! No cord though, some weird flame going on underneath.

  23. Erin says:

    “Run away!” I swear I read it like an homage to “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. Hahaha!

  24. Franziska says:

    Thanks for sharing this story! It made me laugh loud. It is exactly why I never eat fondue bourgignonne. Instead I prefer fondue chinoise- with hot broth. Far less dangerous! You need to slice the meat into very thin slices, no batter. It cooks very quickly and it’s really tasty!!

  25. Megan says:

    This is hilarious! I married into a French Canadian family and we do “fondue chinoise” which is basically just a boiling broth instead of oil. There’s still a cord and the forks are hot, but no scary oil splatter! It’s our 9-year-old’s favourite meal. (I would be perfectly happy to just dip my bread in the cheese fondue but the broth fondue gives me a “healthy” cover.)

    • Melanie says:

      We do the broth fondue too – and only with assorted meat. Serve with a salad and a bunch of dipping sauces, it actually was a fun (if long) meal with the kids the one time we tried it. The phrase “ eat yourself hungry” comes to mind.

  26. Larissa says:

    So, it’s latish at night, and I’m in my office, dying of barely-suppressed laughter, tears coming down my face – and my son, from his bed across the hall, becomes concerned that there is something seriously wrong with me. I tried to tell him I was laughing but I could. not. breathe. Thanks – I already bought the coloring book, because if that extended bit of hot oil hilarity is not worth $12, I don’t know what is. My 6 year old niece will adore it 🙂

  27. Jennifer says:

    Lol @ run away!

    I’ve never had hot oil fondue, but my mom did make cheese fondue when I was a kid and I loved it! A safety tip: she kept the fondue pot on the counter, and scooped cheese into individual bowls for each person at the table. No dangerous cords or candles at the table 😉

  28. Erica says:

    Great post! Laughed out loud. Always been too lazy to fondue

  29. Maggie says:

    Oh my gosh. I was silent crying/laughing while reading this (#newbornproblems). SO many obstacles to hot oil fondue you would never even think of it it weren’t for children. Brings a new meaning to the term “scarred for life”. ?

  30. Peter says:

    OMG I laughed so hard it hurt!

  31. Kim says:

    Omg laughing so hard I have tears! Thanks for sharing.

  32. Kare (Scotland) says:

    OK, I just went and ordered the colouring book to say thank you for the laugh that post just gave me. Husband missed flight home today after five weeks at sea so I was feeling blue.

    “First time I had to say ‘run away’ from the food.” Best line ever.
    Karen (Scotland)

    • Kare (Scotland) says:

      Also, try a hot plate meal. My husband’s Dutch family call it a ‘gourmet’ but I’ve also seen it called a raclette. No hot oil so just the hot plate burns, cord tripping, bamboo skewer eyeball loss and the “Oh, my God, stop using the same skewer to lift off the cooked meat that you just used to put on the raw chicken!!!” salmonella to worry about.

  33. Chrissy kimble says:

    This made me laugh so hard. Loved it.

  34. erickajen says:

    this is so funny! i actually laughed out loud, instead of just typing it out. 😛 ive never heard of such a thing!! ive heard of fondue pots, but only for cheese or chocolate, and … ive never actually seen or used one.
    this was hysterical! the more dangerous it got the more i laughed… you’re going to be laughing at that one for years.. i hope the kids are old enough to remember it and laugh with you.. what a GREAT family memory!!

  35. Cyn says:

    I’m Swiss, cheese fondue dinners were a weekly affair in the cold month. Bourguignonne was that fancy party thing and I remember my mom hated it because of the oil splattering too. And I only remember a handful of time we had it, it got replaced by what we call “Chinese Fondue” where you cook paper thin strip of beef on a skewer in a chicken stock and woodear mushroom stock.

    Back in the days nothing was electric, fondue was always happening on a table top cooking gas or burning alcohol burner fondue stove.

  36. Lauren A. says:

    Look up a fondue vigneronne. You cook the meat in wine so there’s no hot oil that can spatter. No batter either so you can see easier when your meat is cooked. Mildly less dangerous and super delicious. Also: wine*.

    *maybe not for kids, though the alcohol cooks off when you heat the wine, no?

  37. Krissa says:

    I knew where this was going because I saw the That 70’s Show episode featuring “FUNdue!”

  38. Bethany Thorsness says:

    Best Crappy Pictures strip EVER!!!! I laughed so hard I cried.

  39. Hahaha, we do the broth version for the meat course 😉 (I’ve never even had the oil kind, so I didn’t know you dipped it in batter!)

  40. Shannon Shanely says:

    BWAHAHAHA!!!! “The most dangerous dinner ever!” Even funnier is that I grew up ONLY knowing the dangerous oil fondue! I was in college before I had ever had cheese or chocolate fondue…although when I tried the cheese for the first time, it ended up more like cheese curds in the pot…which were still yummy, just not very dippable…hope yours is much more fun!! So glad you are back! And I informed my DH that he just bought me your coloring book for my stocking YAY!

  41. Lisa says:

    I’ve been huddled down at home for 10 days since the Thomas Fire started messing up our air quality over here in California. What a delightful treat to see your blog up again. Thanks for the much needed laugh! The angry fondue pot is iconic!

    Ordered your coloring book too. I think the playful style of drawing you have will be fun for my son who gets intimidated about getting things just right. Can’t wait! (And why didn’t I have this on hand before we got cooped up for so long! Argh! Very jealous of your fresh country air right now)

  42. Rachael says:

    I just discovered this post today and it made me laugh so hard! Thank you so much for all the much needed laughs!