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10 Alternate Uses for Your Fondue Pot

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Whether your pot is filled with gooey cheese or melted chocolate, fondue makes for some seriously fun (and seriously delicious) eating. But you can do so much more with your fondue pot, from making soup to keeping food warm before you serve it. So grab your skewers and read up on these 10 alternate uses for your fondue pot.

1. MAKE SOUP.

A warm bowl of chicken noodle or tomato soup can be comforting in the winter months. Thankfully, you can use your fondue pot to heat up broth or frozen homemade soup. Just pour the liquid and other ingredients into your fondue pot, wait 30 minutes to an hour (depending on your pot and heat setting), and enjoy a bowl of soup.

2. DEEP FRY FOODS.

An electric fondue pot can double as a small deep fryer. Fill your pot with oil and deep fry your food of choice, whether it’s onion rings, calamari, mini donuts, tempura, or latkes. To avoid hot oil splatter, keep the oil level as low as possible, stick to frying small batches of food, and make sure to keep an eye on the temperature so you don’t burn yourself.

3. KEEP APPETIZERS WARM.

When cooking for guests, oven and stovetop space often come at a premium. If you’ve got meat cooking in the oven and vegetables staying warm on the stove, bring out your fondue pot to keep appetizers and other small bites warm until you serve them. You can also fill your fondue pot with extra dip, sauce, or self-serve chili for those Super Bowl party hot dogs.

4. MAKE YOUR HOME SMELL GOOD.

Air fresheners and perfume can make your living space smell better, but your fondue pot can quickly transform your home from malodorous to magnificent. Pour water and vanilla extract into your pot, set it on a low heat, and let the fondue pot do its thing. As the vanilla extract slowly heats up, the aroma will waft around the room. If you’re a fan of essential oils, try lavender, lemon, or your favorite calming or invigorating oil instead of vanilla extract.

5. MAKE "CAMPFIRE" S'MORES.

Although fondue pots are often used to simply melt chocolate for dessert, you can turn your pot into a makeshift campfire for s’mores. After melting chocolate in the pot, hold a skewered marshmallow above the heat to soften it. Spread the melted chocolate and marshmallow on a graham cracker, and voila! Campfire fondue pot s'mores.

6. PREPARE SHABU-SHABU OR HOT POT.

Your fondue pot is perfect for several Asian styles of cooking, such as Shabu-Shabu, Steamboat, and Mongolian Hot Pot. Recipes vary, but the gist is this: Boil water or broth in your fondue pot and add thin slices of meat and vegetables. Beef, tofu, mushrooms, and pea shoots work particularly well. You can sit around the communal pot with friends or family while the hot water cooks the ingredients. Use skewers or chopsticks to remove the food, dip it in sauce, and enjoy!

7. IMPROVE YOUR COMPLEXION.

Most DIY facials start with opening your pores, and your fondue pot can certainly help with that. Heat water in the pot and hold your face over the steam, being careful not to overheat or burn your skin. Once your pores feel open, put a cleansing mask on your face and relax. For a more spa-like experience, add sprigs of rosemary or a few drops of essential oils to the water before heating it up.

8. STORE EXTRA STUFF.

Kitchen space comes at a premium, and it can be difficult to find storage space to stash all your pots, pans, and cooking tools. When you’re not using your fondue pot, take advantage of the space inside of it by storing extra utensils, whisks, and graters in it. And if for some reason you’re having a party without fondue, you can even fill your pot with ice and chill a bottle of white wine.

9. SERVE COCKTAIL WEENIES.

Mini hot dogs in barbecue sauce are always a hit at parties and tailgates. By putting cocktail weenies in a fondue pot with your favorite barbecue sauce, you can keep the "little smokies" warm for hours. Just be sure to provide enough skewers.

10. MAKE TEA OR COFFEE.

If your coffee maker is out of commission and you’re suffering from caffeine withdrawal, a fondue pot can come to the rescue. Boil water in the pot and add instant coffee or your favorite tea bag. You’ll be sipping your favorite warm beverage in no time.

All images via iStock.

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9 Things You Should Keep in Mind Around Someone Observing Ramadan
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To mark the ninth (and most holy) month in the Islamic calendar, Muslims around the world observe Ramadan. Often compared to Lent in Christianity and Yom Kippur in Judaism, Ramadan is all about restraint. For one month, Muslims observing Ramadan fast during the day and then feast at night.

By abstaining from food and water (as well as sex, smoking, fighting, etc.) during daylight, Muslims strive to practice discipline, instill gratitude for what they have, and draw closer to Allah. To be respectful and not annoy observers, here are nine things you should never say or do to someone observing Ramadan.

1. DON'T JOKE ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS.

A traditional iftar meal.
A traditional iftar meal.
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Although it might be tempting to joke about Ramadan being a good excuse to lose weight, it is a time for spiritual reflection and is a serious matter. Observers undertake the challenge of fasting for religious and spiritual reasons rather than aesthetic ones. And, once the sun sets each night, many Muslims prepare a hearty iftar (the meal that breaks the fast) of dates, curries, rice dishes, and other delicious foods. The suhoor (the pre-dawn meal) is often fresh fruit, bread, cheese, and dishes that are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. So the idea of a cleanse is pretty far from their minds.

2. DON'T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS.

An Indian Muslim student recites from the Quran in a classroom during the holy month of Ramadan.
NOAH SEELAM, AFP/Getty Images

There are approximately 1.8 billion Muslims around the world, but not all of them observe Ramadan the same way. Although most observant Muslims fast for Ramadan, don't assume that every Muslim you meet has the same methods, traditions, and attitudes towards fasting. For some, Ramadan is more about prayer, reading the Qur'an, and performing acts of charity than merely about forgoing food and drink. And for those who may be exempted from the daily fasting, such as pregnant or nursing women, the elderly, or those with various health conditions, they might not appreciate the reminder from nosey busy-bodies that they aren't participating in the traditional way.

3. SAY "RAMADAN MUBARAK" INSTEAD OF "HAPPY RAMADAN."

A sign which reads
A sign which reads "Ramadan Kareem" in Arabic is seen pictured in front of the Burj Khalifa in downtown Dubai.
GIUSEPPE CACACE, AFP/Getty Images

Rather than wishing someone a happy Ramadan, being more thoughtful with your choice of words can show that you understand and respect the sanctity of their holy month. Saying "Ramadan Mubarak" or "Ramadan Kareem" are the traditional ways to impart warm wishes—they both convey the generosity and blessings associated with the month. The actual party comes after Ramadan, when Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, an up to three-day festival that involves plenty of food, time with family, and gifts.

4. DON'T BE A FOOD PUSHER.

Muslim woman saying no to an apple.
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Even if the idea of not eating or drinking all day might be unfathomable to you, don't push food onto anyone observing Ramadan. While fasting all day for a month can cause mild fatigue, dehydration, and dizziness, don't try to convince participating Muslims to eat or drink something—they are fully aware of any side effects they may feel throughout the day. Instead, be respectful of their decision to fast and offer to lend a hand with something like chores, errands, or anything unrelated to food.

5. ACCEPT THAT WATER ISN'T ON THE MENU.

Dates and a glass of water.
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Muslims who observe Ramadan don't sip any liquids during daytime. No water, coffee, tea, or juice. Zilch. Going without water is even harder than going without food, so be aware of the struggle and accept it. It's all part of the sacrifice and self-discipline inherent in Ramadan.

6. RESPECT PEOPLE'S PRIVACY.

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Some Muslims choose not to fast during Ramadan for medical or other personal reasons, and they may not appreciate being badgered with questions about why they may be eating or drinking rather than fasting. Children and the elderly generally don't fast all day, and people who are sick are exempt from fasting. Other conditions that preclude fasting during Ramadan are pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menstruation (although, if possible, people generally make up the days later).

7. BE MINDFUL OF ENERGY LEVELS.

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Eschewing food and drink for hours at a time can cause lethargy, so be aware that Muslims observing Ramadan may be more tired than usual. Your Muslim friends and coworkers don't stop working for an entire month, but they may tweak their schedules to allow for more rest. They may also stay indoors more (to prevent overheating) and avoid unnecessary physical activity to conserve energy. So, don't be offended if they aren't down for a pick-up game of basketball or soccer. We can't all be elite athletes.

8. DON'T OBSESS OVER FOOD AND HUNGER.

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One of the worst things you can do to someone on a new diet is to obsess over all the cheeseburgers, pizza, and cupcakes they can't have. Similarly, most Muslims observing Ramadan don't want to have in-depth conversations about all the food and beverages they're avoiding. So, be mindful that you don't become the constant reminder of how many hours are left until sundown—just as you shouldn't joke about weight loss, you shouldn't call attention to any hunger pangs.

9. DON'T BE AFRAID TO EAT YOUR OWN FOOD.

Coworkers discussing a project on couches.
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Although it's nice to avoid talking about food in front of a fasting Muslim, don't be afraid to eat your own food as you normally would. Seeing other people eating and drinking isn't offensive—Muslims believe that Ramadan is all about sacrifice and self-discipline, and they're aware that not everyone participates. However, perhaps try to avoid scheduling lunch meetings or afternoon barbecues with your Muslim colleagues and friends. Any of those can surely wait until after Ramadan ends.

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