Food52's Managing Editor Brette Warshaw is throwing no-stress weeknight parties for anyone, anytime, and (almost) every kitchen. You're invited.
Today: How to throw the hippest party of the season. Just kidding.
In case you were ever thinking that I was cool or hip or edgy -- that on the weekends I spend my free time throwing shabu shabu parties like the folks at Tasting Table or, like, butchering whole animals -- I'm going to go ahead and tell you to throw a fondue party. Yes: a things-on-skewers-dunked-into-a-vat-of-melted-cheese party, just like your mom or grandmother used to do, with Jell-O sculptures for dessert.
Because as the weather got balmy for a hot second here in New York, I started panicking: not because I haven't done my taxes yet or because I will soon have to show my bare legs again or because I can't find any of my bathing suits, but because I hadn't thrown a fondue party yet. And spring could not come before I had friends over and put a bubbling pot of spicy, beer-y cheese in front of them, and then have fruit salad (yes, maybe even more unhip) for dessert.
Nobody said this had to be authentic -- this isn't one of those dreamy French countryside dinner parties like at Bon Appétit, mind you -- but it will be filling and loud and celebratory. And, of course, wonderfully uncool.
When you get home from work: Roast off your vegetables to dunk into your fondue; it's okay if they're at room temperature. Shred your cheddar cheese. Prep your radishes and escarole.
As your guests are arriving: Assign a friend to Bubbly Manhattan duty, and start drinking. Get your fondue going on the stove, but wait to melt the cheese until you're ready for dinner. You want it to be bubbly and fresh and perfect when everyone is sitting down.
Dinner is served! Toss your salad, then bring out your fondue, your roasted vegetables, and another round of Manhattans. Dunk away.
Photos by James Ransom