We’ve been expecting to see some fondue on Mad Men — it is the late1960’s after all — and are happy to know that we’ll be doing some dunking to kick off the season.
Meghan Calvet Draper takes on fondue in tonight’s Season 7 premiere. Her recipe secret: rubbing the pot with a clove of garlic and doubling the amount of Kirschwasser.
“Out of a fervent desire to utilize hardened cheese, the Swiss concocted a mouth-watering cheese-wine mixture,” wrote the editors of Better Homes and Gardens Fondue and Tabletop Cooking (Meredith, 1970). Dunking small pieces of bread, vegetables and meat into hot cheese wine sauce quickly became one of the hottest food fads of the late 1960s
“Now is the time of the fondue,” wrote Jean Hewitt her 1969 New York Times article, “For Dips or Dinners, Fondue Is Popular.”
“Supper or dinner may well turn out to be a communal dunking-pot affair,” added Hewitt. “These days, brides-to-be are counting up the number of duplicate fondue pots and forks they receive as they used to tick off silver compotes.”
Enthusiasm for fondue cooking generated a slew of cookbooks, including The Gold Medal Fondue Cookbook, also published in 1970. According to author Marie Roberson Hamm, fondue in the “Age of Aquarius” was “a culinary game for young partiers, one that can level all company to a state of euphoria. Who can resist the fun of dunking their merry way through a fondue meal? It pleases men as much if not perhaps little bit more than women.”
Will it please both the men and women of Mad Men tonight?
For our recipe, adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Fondue and Tabletop Cooking (Meredith, 1970), we heeded Meghan’s suggestion of rubbing the pot with garlic. If you’d like to use Kirschwasser, a cherry brandy commonly used in Swiss fondue recipes, substitute 1 tablespoon of sauterne with tablespoon with Kirschwasser.
(For a premiere cocktail recipe, see our Blue Hawaii).
We look forward to sharing food and drink highlights of the new season of Mad Men along with culinary history and recipes!
Classic Cheese Fondue recipe, as seen on Mad Men Season 6 premiere, dapted from Better Homes and Gardens Fondue and Tabletop Cooking (Meredith, 1970),
- 12 ounces natural Swiss cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 clove garlic, halved
- 1 cup white wine, such as sauterne (see note)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Dash of ground nutmeg
- Dash of ground black pepper
- Dippers: French or Italian bread, hard rolls, boiled potatoes, cooked chicken shrimp or ham, cherry tomatoes, cooked artichokes, carrot slices, cooked mushroom, celery or green pepper pieces. (see note)
- Combine cheese with cornstarch in a bowl. Rub inside of heated saucepan with garlic and discard garlic. Pour in sauterne and lemon juice. Warm till air bubbles rise and cover surface. Do not cover or allow to boil. Stir vigorously and constantly from now on.
- Add half of the cheese, keeping heat to medium, but not boiling the mixture. When melted add the remaining half of the cheese. After cheese is blended and bubbling, add nutmeg and pepper, stirring continuously.
- Quickly transfer to fondue pot; keep warm over fondue burner. If fondue becomes too thick, add a little warmed sauterne. Spear bread cube with fondue fork piercing crust last. Dip bread into fondue and swirl to coat. It’s important to swirl keep fondue in motion. Also keep the cheese bubbly over the fondue burner. It shouldn’t be too hot or it will become stringy, nor should it be too cool or it will become tough.
Sauterne is a dry to semi-sweet white wine. If you’d like to use Kirschwasser, a cherry brandy commonly used in Swiss fondue recipes, substitute 1 tablespoon of sauterne with 1 tablespoon with Kirschwasser.
All dippers should be bite-sized and each bread cube should have a crust. To estimate how many dippers are needed, consider appetites and accompanying dishes. Generally 1 large loaf of bread serves 6-8. Any cooked meats and vegetables dippers are served warm.