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Friday, February 4, 2011

The Perils of a Swiss Fondue

photo by Jana Daher

Swiss Miss and a Diss.

I took the TGV from Paris to Geneva just for the sake of experiencing the high speed train.  It had limited routes back then and that was years and years ago but can't seem to forget this old lady and what she said to me.  Apparently she thought, and may have had reason to believe, that americans are all alike in the way they eat things.

It was summertime still and I thought this maybe weird but I'm going to do it anyway.  I'm in Switzerland for a day or so and, even though it's summer, this warm wintery dish would give me some bragging rights.

So, as I sat down to savor my little treat, this old lady that sat next to me asked if I were American. Wow, I said to myself.  What gives?  Maybe having fondue out of season, sitting outdoors in the warm sun and looking like a tourist I guess.  I have always had this picture of an American tourist in my head..  a big fat guy, which I wasn't, no not then, a colorful hawaiian shirt, knee long shorts, sandles and a boisterous attitude.  Oh yes, hat and cheap sunglasses too.  Well, I had none of the above, so it must have been the out of season melted cheese.  That's what it is after all, melted cheese with kirsch perhaps.

As I confirmed to the nice old lady that I indeed came from the states she immediately said:
"Don't put ketchup on it".

She said it, not only as if to instruct me that that is no way to consume a fine fondue, but as if she would be insulted if I did add ketchup.

She calmed down when I told her that I liked my fondue straight up, and definitely no ketchup.  For her to take offense to ketchup, the poor old lady, she must have endured the sight of some ugly ass americans pouring ketchup over everything they ate, fondue included, maybe a million times and couldn't stand it no more.

If you're in Geneva and plan to use ketchup, be on the lookout for one Swiss Miss aka ketchup police!