For Funny Furry Feline Fondue Friendship?
Before I lived in Switzerland, I thought that I'd eaten fondue, but a long winter in Fribourg taught me otherwise, for I not only ate true fondue, I learned the rules of fondue propriety, one of which threatened punishment on the poor devil who dipped too awkwardly into the melted cheese and lost the cube of bread from the prongs of the typical, long-handled fork. There's an old proverb relevant in this context:
"He who sups with the devil must use a long spoon."I assume that's meant to provide a head start for escape if something goes wrong. Well, a really long fork would be useful if you sup fondue with the Swiss-French. They threatened me, if I should lose the bread, with an ancient punishment first recorded in the historically entirely accurate Asterix and Obelix comics -- weighing the malefactor down with stones and tossing the poor devil into Lake Geneva . . . though I didn't really believe they'd go that far. Probably just toss me into the Sarine River that splits Fribourg into its Swiss-French and Swiss-German parts!
But fondue etiquette seems to have gotten more civilized since my day among the Swiss-French, for I have a diplomatic friend stationed in Europe -- whom I've previously mentioned -- and she took a trip to Geneva, where she enjoyed a dinner of authentic Swiss fondue, but reported nothing about the dark, watery depths of the nearby lake, though I can't believe she never lost a chunk of bread!
Apparently, the fondue was so tasty that it inspired her to organize a fondue party back in the dark and rainy, northern European city where she carries out her diplomatic endeavors, so she invited twelve friends who brought friends who brought children -- a bit like a flash mob -- and the fun began as the cheese melted into fondue and adults began to get awkward from drink:
"We enforced the Swiss tradition of requiring anyone whose fork loses a bit of food in the pot to kiss the person closest by."That was not the threatening tradition that I encountered! My friend even found the experience so pleasing and conducive to good will that she considered how it might be the secret to world peace:
"So, I've been thinking. Perhaps a world fondue party is what we need. Wait . . . sharp pointed objects and flame . . . maybe not such a good idea. But kissing your neighbour anytime something is dropped might be good."That pacific suggestion had such a certain charm, I considered dropping my guard . . . till I looked around myself at three-thirty in the morning here in Seoul as I was reading that email (on a brief break from blogging) and saw that my nearest neighbor was a neutered tomcat stationed beside me licking its various body parts.
Ugh, no thanks, 'neighbor'. I'd rather get loaded down with stones and tossed into Lake Geneva . . .