In Zurich, I became good friends with Melek in the blokkurs I took to do my research – such good friends that I met her kind, comical and inquisitive family over a home-made cheese-based dinner! Well, I met her currently bearded (apparently a tradition before they graduate) boyfriend, Derek, earlier when we all went to Zurich Zoo together. Melek’s family is from Winterthur, approximately an (efficient) half hour train ride to the northeast of Zurich, and they invited me over for dinner last week! To say the least, I was excited to share a meal with a Swiss family!
Melek had asked her mother to make fondue since that is traditionally Swiss, but the thing is, it’s getting a bit warm in Zurich… And her mother later told me that she was not sure if the fondue cheese would be too strong for me(!!!). So her mother decided to make fondue AND lasagna!
The lasagna was delicious, with the cheese crisp and golden on the sides and on top (Figure 1)!
And the fondue (Figure 2) was the best I have ever had! It was the sophisticated kind—with two types of Gruyere cheese her mother grated by hand. One melts faster than the other so it is important to melt one before the other so you get this smooth, creamy pot of piping hot cheese!
Oh and you cannot forget the Schnapps! Some cherry schnapps for dipping the bread into before the cheese to give the bread a kick. Unfortunately, my first piece of bread fell off my fondue fork and was dunked into the schnapps. Needless to say, it was a mouthful of alcohol.
Melek’s family is one of a kind – her little brother is the cutest when he speaks English as he is still learning. Her sister is going through puberty and has the essence of the typical teenage mind. They brought out photo books of their trip to Egypt, which consisted of a fair amount of butts and cleavage. All this and more as we sat in their garden over dinner with their neighbor’s crazy cat climbing a tree and hopping on our table. And her family joked about eating dogs because I’m Asian. Funny thing is, I’ve actually had dog before.