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Irresistible Fun Food: Serve It 'Au Gratin' Style

Gratineris a French verb.  In English, it means “to brown”.  In French cooking, you sprinkle bread crumbs and/or grated cheese on top of whatever is in the dish, stick it in the oven and brown the top. When you take the dish out of the oven and bring it to table you say it’s “au gratin”.  If you had omitted that one cooking step, it would not be au gratin.

Can you remember the first time you ever tasted an Au gratin dish?  My memory is kind of hazy but I do believe it was several years back.  I was invited out for a Thanksgiving dinner. Before that invitation, I had always enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday at home.  My mom never varied her dishes.  In fact, she never made anything, at any time of the year, that was “au gratin”.  At the home of my friend, potatoes au gratin was served.  It was delicious! From that time to this day, if I hear the words “au gratin”, I will more likely eat a double serving (and take some home for later).

There are so many ways to vary an au gratin dish.  Use different kinds of bread crumbs, different types of cheeses, and all kinds of veggies. And seafood like crabmeat au gratin.  Or fruit like bananas au gratin.  It’s fun!  Of course, it’s the type of dish you would probably only eat for a holiday or special occasion.

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