Don’t Do The Fondue

Seems that people are buying into “the fondue” these days, almost as much as they’re buying into The Secret.

In the last month, everywhere I go, people are asking me if I “do the ‘due” and they’re not talking about soda. They’re talking about a restaurant where, for $125 per person, you are supposed to be extremely excited to (a) cook your own food over a flame, (b) dip poultry, beef and fish into a vat of melted cheese, (c) dip bread on skewers into another hot vat of cheese, (d) dip marshmallows into a third vat of chocolate, and (e) finish up with some cheese. I refuse to be on such a choleste-role

…and you should, too.

Fads come and go, but peer pressure is here to stay. It’s like every six months there’s a new peer-pressured activity here in Los Angeles. Two years ago it was paying to inhale oxygen. One and a half years ago it was drinking excessive Red Bull and vodka. A year ago it was pretending to be Gwen Stefani in public. And six months ago it was digging up corpses at local cemetaries and taking candid pictures of yourself with them.

This month? Doing the ‘due.

It’s like all the LA-centric gym-heads changed their cholesterol, heart-disease mentality and went a complete 180-degrees in their mindset. Ask any of them why they’re so excited about doing the ‘due and they’ll tell you that it’s a healthy alternative to lots of other “hidden calorie restaurant concoctions.” They’ll sell their doing of the ‘due with a select group of simple and easy to remember tagline/quotes:

“Cheese is protein. Protein is good.”
“Beef, chicken and fish — the triad of good health.”
“You’ll cook your food like your ancestors did over an open flame!”
“Fondue is french. The French are skinny. Don’t you want to be, too?”
“The cardiovascular act of dipping bread in cheese makes your meal a negative-calorie experience.”

But the problem is, there’s nothing nearly fad-worthy of going out to old-school fondue restaurants and then learning how to cook your own food. For a guy who has his own e-coli concerns, the last thing I want to do is be given the full responsibility of making sure my food is absent of any and all diseases. If you think about it, this whole fondue scam where you pay to cook your own food is a really great way for restaurants to remove the liability from their own selves in the event someone gets sick. This would be like going to get a face lift and the plastic surgeon suggests when you get there that YOU will be in charge of the surgery and YOU will perform it on yourself.

While I suspect I’d be really good at giving myself my own facelift, it doesn’t make me feel better about doing the ‘due.

Don’t get me wrong about melted cheese. There are times I have enjoyed melting a handful of shredded cheese in between tortillas for a healthy snack. There are times when I’m out at a bowling alley and I’ll eat a few sticks of cheese that are hot and tasty. There are times, when I was younger, that string cheese was the BE ALL END ALL of adolescent society. But dipping stuff in cheese, then removing said items from cheese, then trying to get said items into your mouth without the hot, flesh-burning cheese splattering on your face and rendering your acting career useless, is a process I do not find to be “exciting.”

If I wanted to dip bread or meat or fish or chicken in cheese, I would have already done it at home.

And yet everywhere I turn, it’s like they came out with a sequel to the remake of The Body Snatchers but now instead of aliens inside of all the people, there’s cheese inside of everyone and all they want is for everyone else to have cheese inside of them too because if we all have cheese inside of us and we’re all cooking our own food then we’ll all rave about doing the ‘due and, um, some kind of plan of world cheddarquest will finally come to fruition.

Her: “Oh man, have you ever tried fondue?”
Me: “That’s the dipping crap in cheese, right?”
Her: “Oh my GOD — it is awesome. You get to cook your own food!”
Me: “I have to cook my own food at home.”
Her: “But do you?”
Me: “No.”
Her: “So why not get out of the house, and cook your own food with a bunch of other cool people who are cooking their own food, too?”

They’re coming for me. At every turn. In bars and in libraries and at movie screenings. They’re accosting me on the street, via evites and IM. They’ve been doing it for months and now the groundswell is getting stronger, reaching out further, and slowly infecting all who feel like they want to be a part of the latest fad.

At my count, we’ve got about two months left.

If I can just hold on for sixty or so more days, doing the ‘due might have come and gone just like that whole digging up people’s corpses. Maybe then, I’ll be able to go back to a life where cooking my own food and dipping protein in a hot steaming pot of cheese is looked down on. Maybe then, I’ll be free from this latest cheesy fad. Maybe then, I won’t be looked down upon for not doing the ‘due.

Yes. I know.

All in ‘due time.

9 comments on “Don’t Do The Fondue

  1. Jacquie - March 30, 2007 at 2:47 am -

    Hi Pauly. Did you come up with all those witty little puns on your own?

    I am here to hold your h and for the next 60 days to whole-heartedly support your stand against the fondue fad. I’ve tried it and have never been a fan. I went to a fondue place a few months ago for a “girls night out” and I was astonished at how excited they all were about the process. And the to make it worse, they all started talking about how we should all get fondue pots and have fondue parties. Are we regressing as a society? The situation sounds much worse over there in LA. Maybe a midwest retreat is just what the doctor ordered.

  2. Pauly D - March 30, 2007 at 6:06 am -

    Jacquie – Thank you for your support. It’s hard to muenster-up the courage to do something like this on my own.

  3. Hilly - March 30, 2007 at 7:07 am -

    Over the holidays, I went to The Melting Pot with a large group of people and I am convinced that the large consumption of wine is what made the evening fun. I don’t think I need to go again any time soon…at all.

    Down here in Irvine, there is something like a 2 month wait just to get into The Melting Pot, which is why I went up in Northern Ca.

  4. dgm - March 30, 2007 at 8:04 am -

    okay, so it’s not just me. i’m in south OC and have been baffled about the rise of so many fondue places. i did the ‘due a few years back at my friend’s house and it was a blast (but as hilly notes, the large consumption of wine was the key). i can’t believe people actually pay a lot of money to do this.

    i stand with you pauly. the ‘due is definitely a “don’t.”

  5. monkeyinabox - March 30, 2007 at 8:13 am -

    Pauly D, you are so the duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuue’d.

  6. kiki - March 30, 2007 at 8:54 am -

    Ever the contrarian, I have to disagree with you, Paul, and your loyal, cheese-hating commenters.

    HOW CAN YOU HATE MELTED CHEESE? That’s like hating bacon.

    Maybe it’s just that I have been a fan of fondue for several years and am not hip enough to live in LA or to know that it’s become fad-tastic. But I own my own fondue set and DO have fondue parties. You know, that my friends attend in their disco pants.

    I implore you to reconsider. It’s gouda for you, and your outright rejection makes me bleu. Why not brie all you can brie?

    I sincerely believe that if you just grin and camembert it, you’ll live havarti ever after.

  7. kiki - March 30, 2007 at 9:05 am -

    Is Gravatar working yet?

  8. Jaana - March 30, 2007 at 12:29 pm -

    Hmm. A large vat of communal cheese, in which people are double dipping their used utensils? Gaaaaah.

    Having to cook your own food at a restaurant? You might as well go to a salon and pay to cut your own hair. I imagine the results are going to be equally disastrous.

  9. Amy - March 30, 2007 at 6:06 pm -

    I’m with you on the fondue. It’s not cool, no pun intended.

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