I absolutely adore meals that are meant for communal gatherings. Looking around a packed table full of happy, smiling faces and looks of sheer satisfaction after tasting a first bite, I'm often reminded of how grateful I am for not only the delicious abundance of food, but for all of the family and friends I'm surrounded by. As someone who has to say "no" to an entire food group, it is so refreshing to say "yes" to everything else.
This Christmas Eve, I sat around a table with my family and laughed harder than I have in a long time. I felt as effervescent as the champagne we were drinking as we dipped hunks of Mariposa's gluten free rosemary rolls into boozy cheese melted in a new fondue pot. We punctured apples and pears and reached our metal skewers into the cheese. When we scraped the bottom clean, we cooked shrimp and beef cubes in a hot broth, sometimes losing our hard earned morsel in the bottom of the pot. My mother had researched fondue and educated us on the etiquette, including a very fun tidbit that involves kissing the person on your left if your food falls off of your skewer. This led to much laughter and many, many kisses. We wrapped up the meal with melted chocolate-and here's the decadent part-we dipped not just strawberries and pears, but gluten free chocolate cupcakes in the chocolate, which had a hint of amaretto.
As we wrap up 2009 and look ahead to 2010 with all of its limitless possibilities, may you be surrounded by family, friends and laughter. A fondue pot wouldn't be bad, either!