The One Where the Fondue Catches Fire

With all the snow, it got me thinking, trotting off down memory lane to the last time we had a fondue... Do you remember those? You can have a meat one, cheese one or chocolate, it's great when there's loads of snow, chilly outside, and you all huddle around the table and tuck in, each preparing your own tasty morsels aka your meal! Wow, do people have a fondue anymore? I think they still do in the Alps, but I remember when it was a regular weekend thing...

Well this particular occasion, it was a friend's old fondue that had been handed down to us and it had been gathering dust for some time. We decided to get it out, we had friends round. We all botched the meal together, the mixed cheeses, the salads, the tomatoes, the tiny chunks of bread all chopped to precision, the drinks and other goodies to eek it all out into a meal...
One got the special liquid parafin, another the matches.
One prepared the cheese, another the drinks, and so on.
It was a hive of activity.

Well the fondue just wouldn't light to start with.
A dozen matches were struck, the liquid lit, but just as quickly as it lit, it went out with a puff.
We waited a while, and tried again. No-one seemed bothered too much as the laughter and drinks and chatter flowed.

The match was struck. We attempted to light the liquid again. Success! The liquid remained alight. Great, this'll keep the cheese to the correct temperature, and just perfect for dipping in those tasty morsels of bread, the tomatoes and so on.
However, as the liquid parafin had dribbled down the sides, (when an unsteady hand had filled the container), the flame started to spread over the edge, gingerly at first, but as it took its hold, more violently.
Everyone started dipping in their chunks of bread, coating with deliciously oozing melted cheese, tucking into the salads, and the merriment continued. Until suddenly a voice said "er Mummy, you'd better look at the fondue!"

To which I immediately spun around to see what was happening.
The whole fondue was ablaze. The fondue pot, the base unit (where the parafin was), the chopping board.  I'd luckily decided to rest the whole thing on the chopping board to protect the table.
I thought of blowing the flame out at first. But you know those magic candles? The ones that re-light themselves? Well exactly that happened. I would attempt to blow the flame out, it would pretend to go out, then oops, fooled you and back it came again. The seconds ticked passed and my brain was in overdrive. What next? A damp cloth? Water? No, no, I started to grab the oven gloves, thinking fast on my feet. I would need to get this thing outside.
We were all staying in a wooden house, so best get this thing out, whilst I can.

"Open the front door!" I demanded
No response nor reaction came. No-one moved.

"Come On! Someone open the front door!"
The door was promptly flung open. I hurried behind with the oven gloves on, holding the blazing fondue balancing on top of the burning chopping board. "Stay back" I shrieked, "hot". "Keep your hands away!"
Not sure what to do next, feet firmly planted on the front door step, the silence of the chilly evening outside, all muffled by the deep crisp white snow that wrapped its way around the little wooden house. I paused all of a second.
I literally flung the whole chopping board and fondue straight into the closest heap of cold, perfectly white crisp snow.
If that didn't extinguish the flames, I was already thinking ahead, I'd pile snow on top and bury the whole thing...

Luckily the flames went out immediately.
And all that was left was a black hole in the snow, a stink of the parafin and a half burnt chopping board.
I turned on my heels, keen for the house to not lose any further heat out the front door, shut the door firmly and returned to the gathering. Toasted cheese sandwiches were then prepared and produced, thanks to our nifty little toasted sandwich maker!

So a big note to self: if anyone ever gives you any gadget like this, make sure they :

a) give you the instructions so you know how to use the thing or
b) make sure you do some thorough research beforehand to make sure you really know how the thing works!

I had no idea how much parafin to use, nor how to properly extinguish the flame after use, nor how to actually control the flame either. There must be some kind of dimmer switch if you know what I mean.

So what tales have come flooding back in your minds now the snow has showed a brief appearance?

The Lunchbox World Team x

Labels: ,