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Friday, 15 January 2010

The Silly Cheese Wars

By Lyn Burnstine of The Lynamber Times

If my children were to ask what I ever did for them, my answer is ready: Silly Cheese.

One of their fondest memories of childhood revolves around a frequent meal served at our family dinner table that we labeled “silly cheese.” It was requested any time I’d ask what they wanted for dinner.

I learned not to ask too often. Why? Because I HATED Silly Cheese night. Not the food itself. Silly Cheese was simply a cheese fondue served from an electric skillet set in the middle of the table and attacked with long metal forks holding the chunks of French bread. It was delicious, and usually served with a big, yummy salad.

What made it Silly Cheese was the game that had evolved, probably started by their father, the biggest child of them all. It went, over time, from a spontaneous “grab” for the cheese dripping from somebody’s fork as they reached across the table to an all-out strategy of war – a silly, giggly battle of seeing how many bites of other people’s dripping bread chunks you could steal.

Of course, it was dangerous at times; obviously it made awful messes to clean up (guess who got to do that?). But, mainly, I think, it was proof that I am just not, nor have I ever been, a silly person. Funny, yes, and fun-loving to a degree, but not silly. But I loved them, and I wanted them to have fun.

They never knew until recently that I hated Silly Cheese, a major one of what we called “new-old traditions” like the Hanukkah bush – a large, bare branch decorated with glittery Christmas balls after the fir tree lost its needles. The same branch festooned with hand-decorated, blown eggs for Easter became another new-old tradition, as did the Sunday drives in our station wagon on back country roads.

The tradition was an old one from my own parents, but the new part was our second daughter asking as we started out, “Daddy, can we get lost again?”

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Your 'silly cheese' is the star of my daughter's New Year's Eve party that she gives each year. She adds beef cubes, mushrooms and new potatoes for dipping in the oil. She then follows it up with chocolate fondue for the younger set. It's a big hit.

Your story actually prompted me to look up fondue pots. This could be a fun thing to do every once in a while. My grandson is such a picky eater and maybe this could be a way to get him to eat something other than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and have some fun to boot. I’ll have to decide whether it will be worth having to find space for yet another kitchen appliance. Thanks for sharing.

Lyn - As I read your funny piece, I developed a vivid image of your 'war zone' - the chaos and mayhem!

I remember the frightful state of our dining room table, even after a more civilized consumption of delicious cheese fondue.

What a mess it must have been! - Sandy

What a fun memory! My favorite food memory and my children's was (and is) "Double Boiler," the yummy, rich hot fudge sauce my mom (and I) serve over vanilla ice cream. I didn't know til I was 12 or so that you prepared anything else in that pot! When my kids and grans see it on the stove, they always expect it too.

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