When asked to participate in the My Fat Dad: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Family, with Recipes blog tour, I jumped at the chance. This book received fantastic reviews, and it also gave me the chance to recreate one of its many tasty recipes for this post. Plus I get to give away a copy of this wonderful book to one of my lucky readers! But more about that later.
My Fat Dad is a poignant, heartwarming memoir about how food shaped Dawn Lerman’s “connection to her family, her Jewish heritage, and herself.” Dawn’s Dad, an iconic adman who created slogans such as “Fly the Friendly Skies of United,” “Coke Is It,” “This Bud’s for You,” and “Leggo My Eggo,” battled with his weight all of his life, topping the scales at a whopping 450 pounds at his heaviest. Dad tried every diet on the planet and made his family do the same (they were not thrilled, to say the least.) From Atkins to Pritikin to the Rice Diet at Duke to Weight Watchers, etc., he had limited successes, and most were short-lived. Dieting was truly a rollercoaster ride for him, as it is for many.
Dawn’s mother was the exact opposite, limiting herself to one small meal a day, “usually a can of StarKist light tuna right out of the can with a plastic fork — while standing up and chatting on the phone.” There were rarely any meals together as a family and Dawn felt lonely and disconnected. Luckily, she had her grandmother, Beauty, to turn to for love. friendship and inspiration in the kitchen. Beauty doted on Dawn and taught her how to make, appreciate, and savor fresh, delicious food. When the family moved from Chicago to New York, Beauty sent Dawn $20, a recipe and shopping list each week, to keep Dawn’s culinary interests and their close bond intact.
I decided to recreate the memoir’s Cheese Fondue recipe, courtesy of Dawn’s Mom, who hated to cook. Mom “relied on packaged and frozen meals to make dinner as speedy and painless as possible.” I was impressed that at least she tried to make something creative (although there were some motivating factors for her to do so, which I won’t spoil here.) Plus, I wanted to see if Mom really could create something good (and yes, she did!) Also, I hadn’t used my fondue pot in ages and was excited to dust it off and put it to great use!
I made this fondue as an appetizer for some of my family who dropped by one afternoon and they loved, loved, loved it! The only thing I changed (and I think Beauty and Dawn would appreciate my tinkering with the recipe) was to increase the flour to 1 tablespoon to thicken up the sauce and to add a little bit of freshly-squeezed lemon juice to the cheese to help it melt better. This is so easy to make — just remember to shred the cheese yourself —Beauty and Dawn would insist on that — and use a dry white wine that’s good enough to drink.
My Fat Dad’s Cheese Fondue (Reprinted from MY FAT DAD: A Memoir of Food, Love, Family, and Recipes. By Dawn Lerman, Berkley Books/2015.)
- ½ lb. Swiss cheese, shredded
- ½ Gruyère cheese, shredded
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons flour
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 loaf French bread, cubed for dipping
- Lightly steamed or raw vegetables of choice, for dipping
- Raw apple, for dipping (optional)
Melt the cheeses at a low heat in a pot on the stovetop [I used my double boiler for this step.]
Add in the wine, mixing slowly. [Transfer the mixture from the double boiler to the actual pot.] Make sure the mixture is smooth, with no lumps, and then add the flour. Don’t let the cheese boil.
Before transferring the cheese from the stovetop pot to the fondue serving pot, rub the inside of the serving pot with the garlic clove. This will give a garlicky essence to your fondue, adding extra flavor and aroma.
Serve the cheese fondue with a variety of dipping choices: cubed French bread and lightly steamed (or raw) vegetables or, if desired, raw apple slices.
Yaaay! I get to give away one copy of this fun yet thoughtful memoir to one of my lucky readers! All you need to do is like this post and you will be automatically entered! I will need your full name and mailing address. The giveaway is only good in the U.S. The deadline to enter is Friday, July 22, 2016.
Finally, here are links to the author’s social media accounts:
- Dawn Lerman, MA, C.H.H.C, LCAT, AADP
- Nutrition Consultant, Speaker & Writer
- NY Times Column
- Facebook: Author Page
- Twitter: @dawnlerman
Eat, drink and be merry!
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