As a little girl, this shiny, alluring red pot was the source of much curiosity on my behalf. A child of the eighties, I missed Mum and Dad's fondue party era (how I'd love to have been a fly on the wall), but the melting pot remained. Later in life, perhaps in my teens, I remember it being relegated to the chuck-out pile and I screamed in protest. The fondue pot, although I'd never used it, was a symbol of mama's kitchen -- a place where good things happened. It could not go. The 70s relic heaved a sigh of relief and returned to her position in the cupboard. For years since then, Mum has been saying "We have to do a fondue, we have to do a fondue". Like all good things in life, we were in for a bit of a wait. Finally, thirty years after my birth, we set a night. Copious quantities of shockingly expensive cheeses were purchased, and the old girl sprung to life. Now I'm not sure if this is an actual Fondue Rule or just one of Mama Ryan's spur of the moment things, but it was declared that if you wanted to eat the fondue, you had to have a turn stirring. One by one the ingredients were added to the pot. My folks, my brother and sister in law, my two nieces and myself gathered at the table and took turns passing round the wooden spoon, then dived in with our skewered bread. It had been a long time coming but such fun and worth the wait. I'm quietly confident that ol' Red won't have to wait another 30 before she's called to service again. x

Along with the pot, Mum had managed to hold on to her ancient fondue recipe book, too, but if you're not so fortunate, Nigella has a cheesy concoction that sounds similar to ours.

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