When I was 14, after one of the hardest years of my childhood, I decided I’d had enough of my life. I was done with my school. I was done with my friends. I was done with my family. On top of that, I’d always known that at some point in time, I would live in Europe. And so an idea was born. Thankfully, I had a mother who didn’t ever shoot down our hair-brained ideas. So, when I suggested that maybe I could be an exchange student for my sophomore year of high school (yes, sophomore), she told me that this might be a possibility. Well, that was all I needed to hear. A few months later, everything was set and I was on my way to La Calamine, Belgium to live with a lovely family called the Bindels.
While, in hindsight, I realize that I was way too young and way too naive to be living in a foreign country, speaking a foreign language, in the home of a very foreign family, this was one of the best decisions I ever made for so many reasons, not the least of which was the discovery of raclette.
This week, in history, was the first time I ever had raclette. After that first time, it was six years before I had it again. I was on a mission for my church in Switzerland and a lovely family invited me and the other missionary I live with over for the dish. I was lucky enough to have that experience a few times during the 16 months I was there.
Before I left Europe this time around, I made sure to purchase a raclette grill. Not being well versed in the ways of electricity at the time (home ownership changed all of that), it did not occur to me that my 220 volt grill was never going to pull the power it needed from our 110 volt outlets. My attempt at sharing raclette with my family ended in a stinky disaster of sweating cheese…one that my family often likes to bring up for no particular reason.
Finally, about four years ago, I decided I needed to purchase a raclette grill that would work here in the U.S. I found one on Amazon.com and promptly ordered it. While I have never been able to get my family to try it again, my friends have all willing participated in raclette consumption and this has become a regular part of my holidays every year. Not only do I absolute love eating raclette, I also love that it is a meal that lasts a while. Because you eat as you cook, this is not just a “sit down and dig in” type of meal. It is a meal that takes time and requires us to slow down just a bit.
I may not have thought to do it this year with so much going on, but at Kelly’s request, a raclette night was scheduled. (For the record, I love when my friends request such things!) It ended up being a very small group, but I was so excited to be sharing it with Kelly, Jenn (who had it as a child living in Europe, but not since), and Amanda (a raclette virgin). My apartment was decorated for Christmas. With just the four of us, I was able to pull out my table. It was absolutely lovely.
And now, I am looking forward to my second raclette of the season. As the raclette love has spread through my friends, a couple of them have purchased their own grills and this Tuesday I will attend my first American raclette party that I am not hosting thanks to the lovely Sarah. I could not be more excited!