Fond of Fondue

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Despite extensive research by the Go Retro "team", we could find no real explanation as to why fondue parties became such a big thing in the 1970s. Some feel it was the appeal of a social meal where people would gather around a fondue pot, while others think it was the food's European roots that inspired Americans to experiment with it. Or maybe it's because it's a sexy meal during a time when the sexual revolution was still in full swing...what could be more sensuous than feeding your partner a warm, chocolate dipped strawberry?

Or maybe it was just the fact that dipping bread, fruit, veggies, and meat into a warm, gooey, melted cheese mixture made with wine Darned. Good. Today also just happens to be National Cheese Lovers Day, which probably explains why fondue is on my mind. Fondue reportedly began to make a comeback about 15 years ago. You may have heard of the restaurant chain The Melting Pot where most of the menu is fondue-based. TMP has locations today all over the U.S., but was originally launched in 1975 -- when the fondue craze began.

We do know that fondue originated in the 1700s in Switzerland as a way for families to use up aged bread and cheese during the winter months.

Whatever the reason, it's definitely fondue season right now -- the Northeastern U.S. is bracing for a snowstorm this weekend and Minnesotans are making yard sculptures by freezing their jeans (but not while wearing them at the same time, thank goodness. There are some body parts that should never experience frostbite.) So it's time to take a retro romp through some fondue images from the past, collected from Pinterest, Flickr, and more. Be warned if you're a cheese addict like myself, because some of these pictures gave me a serious craving for the stuff.

Is there a difference between teenage fondue and regular fondue? Who knows, but my best guess is maybe the teen fondue omitted the wine for underage drinkers.

Betty Crocker's guide to all of the equipment that you need, for any kind of fondue.

Wiser words were never written. I like that the "oldest cronie" was drawn like Oliver Hardy, and the "newest acquaintance" looks like a beatnik. Ah, the power of fondue to bring people of all backgrounds together!

One thing I'm not too crazy about is cooking meat in a communal pot, like the kind you encounter at some Asian restaurants. I tried it a couple of times but found cooking my own food when I'm paying for it to be prepared a little weird. I'm a traditional fondue person -- I'll take the melted cheese or chocolate over dipping raw meat into hot broth any day!

Two pages from the 1972 Sears Wish Book catalog -- I wouldn't mind having one of those vintage electric fondue pots today.

Fun and safe for kids!

Well, I don't care if it looks or sounds disgusting...I'd totally make pizza fondue!

This image would suggest that fondue was already becoming a thing in the 1960s.

I couldn't tell if this photo was actually from the '70s or made to look that way, but either way that's a pretty grooving dining room...with a fondue pot just waiting for the party to get started.

Typical cozy après-ski scene...with beer and fondue!

And even the littlest ones had their own (safe) version of fondue, courtesy of Kenner.

Well, not only am I all fondued-out, I'm also hungry. Time to go melt some cheese...


  1. Not Sooouuul Food. #FondueSoWhite.

    It does look fun. Seems like an Anerica that's slipping into history. The cozy après-ski setting is definitively aspirational retro fun.

    Enjoying this just-discovered blog (watching Johnny Carson on one of these nostalgia channels - a 1986 show. Mentioned Burger King's "Herb" ad, and Googke brought me here)

    1. Did I refer to it as "soul food"? I just read through it again and didn't see it. If I would have used that phrase, I would have meant it as simply being good for the soul, not a racial thing. Anyways, thanks for visiting and for the comment.


Powered by Blogger.