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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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Food
Let Alexa Help You Brine a Turkey This Thanksgiving
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There’s a reason most of us only cook turkey once a year: The bird is notoriously easy to overcook. You could rely on gravy and cranberry sauce to salvage your dried-out turkey this Thanksgiving, or you could follow cooking advice from the experts.

Brining a turkey is the best way to guarantee it retains its moisture after hours in the oven. The process is also time-consuming, so do yourself a favor this year and let Alexa be your sous chef.

“Morton Brine Time” is a new skill from the cloud-based home assistant. If you own an Amazon Echo you can download it for free by going online or by asking Alexa to enable it. Once it’s set up, start asking Alexa for brining tips and step-by-step recipes customized to the size of your turkey. Two recipes were developed by Richard Blais, the celebrity chef and restaurateur best known for his Top Chef win and Food Network appearances.

Whether you go for a wet brine (soaking your turkey in water, salt, sugar, and spices) or a dry one (just salt and spices), the process isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. And the knowledge that your bird will come out succulent and juicy will definitely take some stress out of the holiday.

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Big Questions
Why Do the Lions and Cowboys Always Play on Thanksgiving?
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Because it's tradition! But how did this tradition begin?

Every year since 1934, the Detroit Lions have taken the field for a Thanksgiving game, no matter how bad their record has been. It all goes back to when the Lions were still a fairly young franchise. The team started in 1929 in Portsmouth, Ohio, as the Spartans. Portsmouth, while surely a lovely town, wasn't quite big enough to support a pro team in the young NFL. Detroit radio station owner George A. Richards bought the Spartans and moved the team to Detroit in 1934.

Although Richards's new squad was a solid team, they were playing second fiddle in Detroit to the Hank Greenberg-led Tigers, who had gone 101-53 to win the 1934 American League Pennant. In the early weeks of the 1934 season, the biggest crowd the Lions could draw for a game was a relatively paltry 15,000. Desperate for a marketing trick to get Detroit excited about its fledgling football franchise, Richards hit on the idea of playing a game on Thanksgiving. Since Richards's WJR was one of the bigger radio stations in the country, he had considerable clout with his network and convinced NBC to broadcast a Thanksgiving game on 94 stations nationwide.

The move worked brilliantly. The undefeated Chicago Bears rolled into town as defending NFL champions, and since the Lions had only one loss, the winner of the first Thanksgiving game would take the NFL's Western Division. The Lions not only sold out their 26,000-seat stadium, they also had to turn fans away at the gate. Even though the juggernaut Bears won that game, the tradition took hold, and the Lions have been playing on Thanksgiving ever since.

This year, the Lions host the Minnesota Vikings.

HOW 'BOUT THEM COWBOYS?


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The Cowboys, too, jumped on the opportunity to play on Thanksgiving as an extra little bump for their popularity. When the chance to take the field on Thanksgiving arose in 1966, it might not have been a huge benefit for the Cowboys. Sure, the Lions had filled their stadium for their Thanksgiving games, but that was no assurance that Texans would warm to holiday football so quickly.

Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm, though, was something of a marketing genius; among his other achievements was the creation of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Schramm saw the Thanksgiving Day game as a great way to get the team some national publicity even as it struggled under young head coach Tom Landry. Schramm signed the Cowboys up for the game even though the NFL was worried that the fans might just not show up—the league guaranteed the team a certain gate revenue in case nobody bought tickets. But the fans showed up in droves, and the team broke its attendance record as 80,259 crammed into the Cotton Bowl. The Cowboys beat the Cleveland Browns 26-14 that day, and a second Thanksgiving pigskin tradition caught hold. Since 1966, the Cowboys have missed having Thanksgiving games only twice.

Dallas will take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday.

WHAT'S WITH THE NIGHT GAME?


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In 2006, because 6-plus hours of holiday football was not sufficient, the NFL added a third game to the Thanksgiving lineup. This game is not assigned to a specific franchise—this year, the Washington Redskins will welcome the New York Giants.

Re-running this 2008 article a few days before the games is our Thanksgiving tradition.

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