et patati et patata

Meet "Rif" and "Raf"—a couple of French gastronomes that I met while photographing Roquemaure yesterday... Please share their funny story, below, with a friend... and be sure to check out the comments box to this edition, where readers have been asked to share their favorite potato recipes!


et patati et patata (ay pah-tah-tee ay pah-tah-tah) expression

    : and so on and so forth


A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

I overhear the funniest conversations while photographing these neighboring villages. Yesterday, after a lot of ruckus coming from a window above, I stopped in my tracks... and chanced to look up.

Incroyablement, this is what I heard:

DSC_0105 Rif*: Dude, what's for dinner?

: Patates!

Rif: But we had patates last night...

Raf (showing a slight distasteful look reserved for "commoners" a.k.a. "Plebeian Pigeons"): No, Rifford. Last night we had gratin dauphinois and the night beforethatwe had purée à la truffe.

Rif: And tater tots before that...

: No, Rifford. Our class does not eat "tater tots". We dine on Les Tots de Tator (that's "tah-tor"). It has a better ring. You must keep apprised of the ring of things—and quit talking like a commoner!

With that, Raf strutted off, his feathers decidedly ruffled or ruh-felled, as Raf would have us say.

And Rif... Rif took advantage of a back-turned Raf... to stick out his tongue at the snobby bird—and not miss the chance to get in the last word:

"And don"t forget Friday's fried potatoes in eggs or—as you'd have me say: "frih-tah-tahs"...
Or Thursday's hash browns (or "pommes sautées"—have it your way)... patati et patata! Potatoes today, potatoes tomorr'ah!


*Rif (short for "Rifford"—a name that his "refined" friend (Raf) gave him... for use whenever Raf's around... fancying himself King of the Town.

Raf: (short for "Rafael de Roquemaure" a self-appointed name that this pigeon uses when he struts through the neighborhood, pressing ahead of the simpletons or "Plebs").

Oh, and speaking of potatoes... here is a favorite book of Rif's, one that he finds exceedingly eatingly helpful for his nutritional well-being. Highly recommended! Buy a copy for a sugar sensitive, moody pah-toody friend (like Raf, for example!):

Potatoes Not Prozac: Solutions for Sugar Sensitivity (Paperback). Lose weight, heal depression, and stop cravings. Check out all the enthusiastic reviews, here!

Comments are the Best Part of French Word-A-Day:

Did you enjoy this story? Let me know and maybe we'll bring Rif and Raf back for another laugh! Also, long live potatoes! Today, share with us your favorite potato recipe. If you don't have the recette, no problème, tell us what you love and we'll Google it :-)

French Vocabulary & Sound File
Listen to my daughter pronounce the following words: Download Wav or MP3

incroyablement = incredibly
une patate
= potato, spud
un gratin dauphinois
(m) = a potato gratin with (more or less): milk (or cream) and cheese (such as gruyère) and muscade (nutmeg)
et patati et patata
= and so on and so forth



In film: French postcard: American exchange students come to Paris to study the language for a year...
English Grammar for Students of French: The Study Guide for Those Learning French
Tune Up Your French!
Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French

 potato recipes The Williams-Sonoma Collection: POTATO

Raclette Grill -- just boil up some potatos... and add toppings to the grill Raclette grill

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I will look up my favorite potato recipe later but I did want to share a travel story with you. I am Irish on both sides of my family. In 1994, we traveled to Ireland for my parents' 25 anniversary. I was used to the three-veg requirement in most British restaurants and B & Bs but had a new experience on this trip. It appeared that three veg in Ireland was extended to include three types of potato dishes plus two other veg -- boiled potatoes, roasted potatoes, and mashed potatoes. I did not complain since they were without exception the best I had ever had. The crowning moment was when Suzanne and I ordered fabulous seared salmon on pasta. Yes, to our surprise it came with a side of fries or, in British terms, chips. And yes, we ate them and they were wonderful. I think only in Ireland can you get pasta and fries....

Margaret in chilly Durham, NC

Linda R.

Fun, Kristin - you have a good thing going with your Rif and Raf stories. They will be a nice interjection from time to time. As always, your stories help us to recall favorite memories and they are interesting to read as well.

Johnette LaBorde

are you going to print the receipes?


Thank you, Linda!

Hi Johnette: no, I won't print them -- but they will remain in the blog comments box.

Pat Cargill

Just had potatoes last night--latkes or potatoe pancakes. Peeled and grated, mix with a little flour, egg, S & P and preferably un peu grated onion. Put a large spoonful of mix into hot oil in frypan (I used a little more oil last night and kept it very hot--they cook crispier, important to be crispy!) Mash down the blob of potatoes w/back of spoon to flatten. Flip once. Should be nicely browned. Remove to warm oven, on paper towels to drain a bit, while others cook. Serve w/sour cream and/or apple sauce. Yum.

From Pat in rainy Roanoke, low 30's...time for another cup of coffee.


Potatoes in any form are the BEST!! I really like them raw! But potatoes dauphinoise are really my favorite. If anyone has a "real cream" recipe, I'd love to see it!
When we traveled to Ireland we were amazed too, at the amount of potatoes served. No famine anymore! Once we broke down and ordered pizza and sure enough, a baked potato was served as a side!


My father-in-law (from Tennessee and fond of 'southern-style' cooking) often said he never met a bean he didn't like. Perhaps my Irish roots are most evident when it comes to potatoes, not one of which I have ever disliked.

I think Rif and Raf could be very productive as fall guys for future episodes. Reminds me of Heckle and Jeckle. Remember them?

Bill in St. Paul

While we were growing up, my mother would make twice-baked potatoes (at least that's what she called them). You bake the potatoes, then cut them in half the long way, scoop out the insides, mash and whip the insides (I'm assuming that butter or milk was added), put the mashed insides back in the skins, put cheese on top and put the potato halves under the broiler to melt the cheese and reheat the potatoes. You wanted to get one where the cheese was just lightly browned.

The other potato dish I like is the Swiss rosti, but I don't remember the recipe.


Love potatos! My favorites: potato & leek soup, my husband's smash potatos and my mom's cold potato salad with parsley, onions, olive oil and vinegar... yummi!

Very nice story Kristi! I like and enjoy a lot your imagination... very creative! I really think you should write short stories and a children's book :)

Andrea @ Austin, TX


Oh, Kristin, this is one of your best posts yet!!!!! You must post more Riff and Raf... I have lughed... and sent it to all my rancophile friends... Great way to end the work week...


Candy in SW KS

Reminds me of dear old Red Skelton doing his "Gertrude and Heathcliff" skits (they were seagulls - and now I'm showing my age!)
My favorite soup recipe - Potage Parmentier:
In 4 cups of chicken broth add 4 medium sized potatoes peeled and cut into 8ths, 3 chopped onions, 3 chopped leeks and 1/2 t salt. Simmer covered for 20 min. Mash potatoes in the broth using a potato masher. Add 1/2 t. marjoram, 1 T finely chopped parsley, 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1 T. butter. That's it! Easy and soooo delicious. If you blend it and chill it you have the famous "Vichyssoise"! I prefer it warm with French bread and some pate. Add a salad and you have a meal! As Julia Child would say: "Bon Apetit!"

Evening Hérault

Hi Kristin

Delightful post and I have to agree with Margaret from chilly Durham, NC. There's nothing better than having several types of potato dish served together, some crispy, some soft and fluffy etc. My favourites include:

(a) Boxty - an Irish potato cake - my tried and trusted recipe here:

(b) Dauphinois with lots of cream - and cheese

(c) Colcannon - mashed potatoes and either kale, cabbage or spring onions. Recipes here:

(d) Chips - the big fat ones from a real fish and chip shop rather than thin frites, which have their place too of course!


That's it. We're heading to the mini-marché for a bag of patates, just like the one in today's photo! Thanks for these mouth-watering suggestions! Comfort food here we come!

Diane Scott

Terrifically fun story, Kristin! Reminds me of la Fontaine's famous fable, "Les Deux Pigeons." I only hope that Raf does not make the same mistake as the fabled pigeon and choose to leave his best friend, Rif, for more sophisticated digs. He might return a slightly more contrite (and lighter) bird, missing a few tail feathers!

As for potatoes-- french fingerlings roasted with olive oil, a sprinkling of Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper, chopped garlic and herbes de Provence!

Marianne Rankin

My grandmother used to bake potatoes in foil having sliced them in a few places, added dabs of butter, and slices of onions. Cook for roughly an hour at 325 F or so. Yummy!

It's rainy, sleety, and about 35 degrees in University Park, MD.


I love potatoes in almost any form (except boiled). The current favorite to make is potato gallette. Thin sliced potatoes put in an oiled cast iron pan, layered with butter, herbs/spices, maybe carmelized shallots between each layer. Cook on the stove for a bit, then pop in the oven until potatoes are soft. Then flip it on to a dish. Sort of a potatoe upside down "cake".

Betty Bailey

Alas, we''ve had to give up potatoes for a low-carb diet, chez moi. But I do like a potato gratin:

Potato slices placed in a garlic-rubbed, oiled gratin dish, layered with shallots or onions, garlic slices and grated gruyere cheese, bits of butter, salt, pepper, a sprinkle of cayenne, thyme, and cream poured over it just to the top (barely), additional grated cheese on top. Bake at 400 until potatoes are tender, cream absorbed, and top is browned a bit.


Hi Kristin,

I'm wondering if you know anything about the origins of some of today's word. I.e., "gratin dauphinois" -- as in dauphine? as in dolphin/crown prince? Also, "et patati et patata" itself; it sounds like it could be Italian with the "i" and "a" at the ends. Just curious ... they sound like expressions with interesting histories.

Mostly sunny and 37F/3C in New Jersey

Margaret Dennis


I think you have found everyone's soft spot -- potatoes! Thank you Evening Herault for the Colcannon recipe. That is the one I was going to look up! It will make your arteries clog just thinking of the "well" you make in the potatoes so you can add about a thousand pounds of melted butter!

I can't get potatoes off my mind now. I had yummy frites at a cafe in the 5th in Paris last September. Crispy outside, pillow soft inside cooked to perfection.

Hmmm, maybe baked potatoes for dinner will take the chill off tonight.


Catherine V

We eat "frih-tah-tahs" regularly. They're wonderful, because they can be both healthy and you can clean out the fridge with all your leftover veggies .... and some potatoes! My favorite frittata: eggs, chopped or sliced potatoes, artichoke heart bits, and feta cheese. Cook on stove until underside is cooked, then set the whole pan in the oven under the broiler until the top is cooked through. Great for breakfast or dinner!

Catherine V

P.S. Martina's recipes sounds wonderful!!

Jennifer Ann Gordon

Bonjour, Kristin! I so enjoy your writing. I look forward to receiving your posts daily. You have become a dear friend. Your fascination and delight in life makes me smiles and nod my head.

And, I have something to send you -- my 3-CD audio book, "A Woman's Mind Half Naked." I want to send this because I think you'll find it fun, playful with words and thoughts. If you are willing to receive it, can you email me your address.

Des grosses bises,



Excellent - "Good Feathers" lives on! Just finished my own "frih-tah-tah" and loved the story.


Bonjour Kristin! Lovely photos and lucky pigeons. Not being the cooking type I have no recipes but I do know that I love dutch fries (sorry, not french) and steamed/sauted little baby potatoes with olive oil, some herbs! Yumser!

Have a great weekend!



*** Mashed Potatoes
9 patates
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup butter
1tsp salt

-Boil peeled cut up patates in salted water for 20-25 minutes. Drain.
-Heat milk, cream, butter, salt and pepper until butter is melted.
-Add milk mixture to patates, mashing with a potato masher, mixing until light and fluffy. You may not need all of the milk mix....depends on what kind of potatoes.

Very yummy mashed taters!

Ali Herron

I love the potatoes recipes! Yes, we had the same experience In Northern Ireland and were just amazed at the different preparations.

By the way, Kristen, I had ordered one of your new books for a friend the first day with you said, if we did so, we would get one year worth of your weekend blog/pictures. I know you were VERY busy for so long but maybe now, you can "fix" that! Thanks so much. I just LOVE photos and try to do some fun ones myself. Of course, having France as a subject, we are not short of subject matter.... Smiles, Ali
P.S. Foggy, cold and gray in Burgundy!

Karen from Phoenix, AZ

I just love potatoes, all types, mashed, baked, twice baked. My new favorite is baked potato soup. YUM YUM.

We had 50% of our yearly rain in 24 hours here is Phoenix. Lots
and lots of flooding, trees down, but as I type this a little bit of sunshine peaking through the clouds.

Kristine, dallas

Bonjour Kristin~darling post today!

No real recipes to speak of but I love potatoes in all forms. Mashed with garlic and butter, fried with Lawry's seasoning salt, twice baked with a steak, and of course lucky me living in Dallas, the home of the Lay's potato chip! :)


I just love the Rif/Raf to get us learning and CRAVING patates today! J'aime les patates et les oeufs! I have grown up eating this for breakfast lunch or dinner. we all love it. It has become our Christmas morning staple. Along with other fixings. We MUST have it!

Chez moi I add ground rosemary, some smoked paprika, or a nice homemade Indian curry powder from a friend of mine. All depends on my mood what goes in. I could eat a plateful. But as my niece is getting married in August, possibly on a family cruise to the Bahamas, I must refrain from les patates et oeufs regularly and be true to my cornflakes au lait 2%.

But I will splurge one day this month and have Candy's Potage Parmentier because I can't resist a good soup!

PS Candy I posted on Wednesday comment's the website for the lavender eye pillow. And she makes other goodies too!

Kellie in Central FL. 74 and Sunny ...

weathered major storms last w/ high winds and tornados in north, west & south of us to get the sun. Tractor trailer blown over, trees down, flooding. Two weeks prior we were in the 30s and lost most FL citrus and strawberry crops. Haven't heard about Ferns yet.

Jacqui McCargar

I agree, any kind of potatoes are great! A local French Cafe Chloe's" here is Santa Rosa does a wonderful potato and ham gratin with 4 cheeses , it's called a Tartiflette! I love red potatoes cut up and roasted with olive oil, sea salt, rosemary and garlic, yum! Another favorite is potato corn chowder with bacon...this is making me hungry!! :)

Bill Facker

Excellent writing today, Kristin. The words are alive! Aloha from Kauai.

Robert Haine

"You say TOH-MAY-TOH, I say TOH-MAH-TOH,
Let's call the whole thing off!"
(thanks to Heckel and Jeckel, the two "corbeaux" of 50's cartoon fame!)
from wet and soggy "blame it on El Nino" southern California


Bonjour Kristin,
Here is my very favorite potato recipe, it is not complicated and the quantity can be prepared as desired:

Rosemary & Garlic Potatoes---

Wash RED potatoes and chop into large chunks, leaving skin on.
(Small red potatoes, cut in half work, too, and yes you may use other types of potatoes)

Layer in a shallow baking dish.
Sprinkle liberally with Red Wine Vinegar (not another type).
Drizzle EVOO onto potatoes as well.

Take sliced garlic cloves (to taste, I love garlic so I use several cloves) and layer onto potatoes so that each potato has at least a few pieces of garlic atop.

Put sprigs of fresh rosemary on top and between potatoes (again, use as much or as little as you wish, I use about 5 sprigs).

Bake at 350F (mon dieu, I don't know celsius!) for about 30-45 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown.

Au bientots,
Kristine (aussi en tres froid Durham, NC)

Cindi, Wailea, Maui

Salut Kristin,

I enjoy reading your emails but have never commented. Rif & Raf was a charming story, enjoyed it very much. I have also loved following Smokey and Blaise on their adventures . . specifically Smokey's attack and healing process - brought tears to my eyes - Glad he is doing better.
I'd like to share me family's favorite potato recipe:

Potatoes Gratin **

1 pound of Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2/3 cup grated Gruyere cheese (about 1 1/2 oz.)
1 teaspoon olive oil - I use a little more
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup low-salt chicken stock

1) heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9 inch round or oal baking dish.
2) slice potatoes 1/8 inch thick and combine thoroughly in a mixing bowl with 1/3 C. of Greyere, the olive oil, thyme leaves, salt and pepper.
3) arrange potatoes in a neat overlapping pattern in the baking dish. Pour chicken stock over potatoes and sprinkle remaining cheese over top. Bake until potatoes are tender and the cheese and potatoes are starting to brown, about 45 minutes. So simple, yet so good. . .Yum.
4 servings


Ouch! That was a long slog with Rif & Raf to get to the pitch for the Williams-Sonoma potato book. Didn't work for me. Sorry.

Diane Scott

I don't think it is necessary for Kristin to have to tuck herself into bed on the cusp of an unpleasant comment. I'd like to ADD that I had a rollicking good time today following the recipes spawned by Rif and Raf's story. Sweet dreams, dear one!


Nevertheless here we have had a bunch of wonderful recettes for free. I love the roasted potatoes like Kristines just cut them in to long shapes and I use balsamic vinegar with sea salt and herbs and olive oil. I love this same recette with sweet potatoes. Umm Yum! Can't wait to try Martines recette.

Carole from sunny Denver


Hi Robin, I write the stories first (I do not base my stories on advertising). If there is any time left (before my self-appointed deadline) then I quickly search for related products at (where I am an associate). Usually the products are standard, and I can quickly add them... but today, I had enough time to put the shopping section in theme with the story. The story came to me very quickly, after I took the picture--just yesterday. It is the kind of picture that I aim for: something with a little humor and a little France. I was excited when Rif and Raf--and their voices--began to take shape.

I had to look back over your other comments, to try and understand whether you meant today's in an unkind way. I see that you didn't (based on your thoughtful comments in the past). I'm bummed that you didn't enjoy Rif and Raf, as I had so much fun writing the story. We'll try it again next time, but please be certain that it always starts with the story! (Even the word of the day is chosen *after* the story (it is first necessary to let the story evolve, then "discover" what the one word is that best represents it.

Diane, thanks so much for your note! Off to get some sweet zzz's now :-) I think I'll be dreaming about potatoes and all of these scrumptious recipes.

Betty Bailey

The recipes all sound delicious. I also like twice-baked and like to add bits of New Mexico hatch peppers when I can get them.

And j'aime beaucoup les Texas-style hash brown potatoes with breakfast but have never cooked them.

Fred Caswell

Kristi, it really hurts to say I agree with Robin. I miss your true stories that teach and inspire me. Still, it is understood that branching out is not only good for the birds but for all of us.

Risking a repeat, here is a small flock of words about birds and my wife's sense of humor.

After swimming and bathing we strolled to the small concession stand on a Caribbean beach. Having received our order we walked to a shaded table to set down our food. Leaving Nancy to watch over our goodies, I went back to the concession area to snatch some condiments. In less than one minute yours truly returned to see first Nancy with a huge grin on her face then to observe birds swooping down from the shade tree to join some of their feathered friends who had already picked away at Fred's food!

After furiously shooing the raiders away, a hungry and incredulous husband asks his wife why she just sat there and didn't chase those winged thieves back to their tree and protect his food. "I thought it was so funny I wanted you to see it.

Her epouse found nothing funny about the incident.


I enjoy everything you write Kristin.

Jules Greer

Kristi Honey - I agree with Douglas, every word that comes out of that little blond head of yours is a delight for me. One of my favorite stories of yours is the one about the "street sweeper with the turquoise eyes". There are lots, I guess I will have to look back over your archives and pick 10 of my favorites. This might be a more productive way for us to put our 2 cents in on which writing of yours makes us spoiled little brats the happiest.




I attended a Monet cooking class some years ago to watch the preparation of gratin dauphinois, peas a la francaise, daube de boeuf, tarragon carrots, and lemon mousse. I was told there that Monet himself kept extensive recipes, notes on herbs, table settings, flowers,menus etc. to plan the lunches for his visiting friends. Apparently, he planned and the women prepared.:) The recipe is similar to the other one posted but we were advised to use Yukon gold potatoes because they taste more like old fashioned potatoes, lots of garlic and butter and milk just to cover the slices. Cover it with foil while baking in milk for one hour. Then remove the foil and use a skewer to poke holes in the layers of potatoe slices before pouring heavy cream over them and baking uncovered 1/2 hour more. It makes a crusty brown topping. It was also suggested that you use a wide rather than deep pan so that there is more crust. Gruyere, bacon crumbles, onion could be added but it is very good plain.

Should you come up with a rabbit story, I'll share the carrot/ tarragon recipe.

Any rabbit in Piedmont North Carolina today should be tucked in a warm place out of this cold rain.

Katy George

well, love, this post sent me to my french cookbooks, je sais cuisiner (which every one of my french girlfriends had in her kitchen, usually a gift from her grandmother at about age 14) and la bon cuisine d'aujourd'hui (from that ubiquitous book club) and i read every single recipe. i'm snowed it with a stash of patates and can't quite figure out which version i want for tonight. o la la! quelle richesse!! thanks for the inspiration, love.

apart from that, when kitten season comes around next spring, i suggest you adopt a pair. your doglets will adopt little ones, and you will have lots of new material.

love, katy

Bill Facker

Kristin, You can "pitch" me anytime with your excellent writing. What a wonderfully non-obtrusive manner to inform all of us about books you believe to be valuable. What's more - there are so few outlets for writers who put their very essence into their creations, that I believe you "pitching" us on those creations is a valuable service. Mahalo Nui Loa for sharing and keep it coming Girl! JULES, what an exemplary Mother you are .. every child should be so lucky as your Kristin. Sincerely, Bill Facker


My husband and I were wondering where the word "spud" originated. I am proud to say it wasn't the Americans! bon apatatoes to all.

Dave Wilton, Friday, March 30, 2007
This word for potato comes from the digging implement used to uproot them. The word is of unknown origin and was originally used as a term for a short knife or dagger. This sense dates to the 15th century. From Promptorium Parvulorum Sive Clericorum, an Anglo-Latin lexicon from c.1440:

Spudde, cultellus vilis.
(Spudde, an inexpensive little knife)

Over time, spud came to mean a digging tool. From Samuel Pepys Diary of 10 October 1667:

We...begun with a spudd to lift up the ground.

Eventually the word changed in meaning, transferring to the potato from the tool used to dig the tubers up. From Edward Wakefield’s 1845 Adventure in New Zealand:

Pigs and potatoes were respectively represented by ”grunters” and ”spuds.”

An avid reader emailed me with a supposed acronymic origin of spud. The reader rightly was skeptical, but had found the reference in Mario Pei’s 1949 The Story of Language. Pei writes, “the potato, for its part, was in disrepute some centuries ago. Some Englishmen who did not fancy potatoes formed a Society for the Prevention of Unwholesome Diet. The initials of the main words in this title gave rise to spud.” Like all other pre-20th century acronymic origins, this one is false. This just goes to show you, that even language professionals can get taken in sometimes.

(Source: Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition)

Pat Cargill

roses are red, violets are bleu
taters are good for me and you.

the end.



When entertaining try a mashed potato bar for a change.

A crudité plate of veggies for dipping into a mélange of mashed potatoes dishes like: garlic mashed potatoes, herbed mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes with finely chopped olives, mashed potatoes with fried bacon or pancetta. The varieties are only limited by your imagination. One word of advice -- you'll need to put the potatoes in dishes that can be kept warm by candle or sterno.

Jules Greer

Well - well - and well. Yes, I must say I am eating my words this morning. Last night I went on a rampage - swearing like a sailor all the way. What has triggered all of this unrest. It all started with "the comment" - I was so upset that someone would attack my little Kristi, even if I felt somewhat in concert with what Robin had to say (not about the potato cook-book -it was the winey little birds that got on my nerves.) I was so upset I really never even noticed who the comment was from...well this morning I did - Oh My God,Robin,
one of my favorite people of all of Kristi's friends. Then there was Fred - jumping right into the fire...

I personally wish that Kristi would put her energy into working on dialog and plot lines along the line of a sexy thriller in the South of France, with lots of history sprinkled in...but then...Kristi is not me. I should have known that it would all come to this - after all, she was the child that sat at the kitchen table for hours telling me about the frogs in the creek behind our house. A true story: one morning I woke up to find a bunch of frogs in my bed!!!

Robin - I love you...!

Fred - your comments are always unforgetable. For any of you who don't know Fred, he is in his 80's and blessed with a young, young wife who keeps him on his toes.

As for the "swearing like a sailor" I was awakened last night by what sounded like a Marti-Graw (sp?) party here on the Marina that went on for hours. I must be getting old...I want peace and quiet all of the time.

This note will probably get me in trouble.



Candy in SW KS

Forgive me for a short history lesson, but Jen's question about the origin of "dauphinois" intrigued me so I did a little research. Which came first the "dauphin" or the region of "Dauphine" which is on the Swiss border? It seems the name of the region came first. The son of Guy le Gros who ruled this kingdom(perhaps he had too many patates dishes!) took the title of Comte-Dauphine and had a dolphin painted on his coat of arms. He eventually ceded his possessions to the King of France, on condition that the King's eldest son would always bear the title of Dauphin. All I could find on "patati,patata" is that it is an onomatopoetic expression. See what happens when you're a retired teacher with time on your hands! :)


Bonjour Kristin, et a tous,

My favorite potato recipe is Potatoes Au Gratin, but I'm always watching my calories so I found this rich, and creamy recipe that doesn't taste low cal!

Recipe by: Rosey Daley
Serves 8
Calories per serving = 126!!!

Light vegetable oil cooking spray
3 med. baking potatoes thinly sliced
2 TBS all-purpose flour
1 med. onion, trimmed, thinly sliced, and separated into rings

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 small zucchini, trimmed, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp Spike seasoning
12 oz. evaporated skim milk
2 TBS chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 400º degrees.
Coat 10 inch gratin dish or glass pie pan with 3 sprays of vegetable oil spray.

Layer a third of the potatoes over the bottom of the prepared-gratin dish, overlapping the slices in a spiral pattern. Over the potatoes, sprinkle 1TBS of the flour and arrange the onion rings. Dust with the cayenne pepper and 1/2tsp of the paprika.

Layer another third of the potatoes, adding the remaing TBS of flour, and the black pepper, and 1 TBS of the Parmesan cheese.
Scatter the zucchini, dusting with the nutmeg and Spike seasoning. Top with a spiral layer of the remaining potatoes.

Pour the evaporated milk over the gratin and add the remaining paprika and Parmesan cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove foil, lower the oven to 350º degrees, and bake for about 15 minutes more, until the top is golden brown.

Remove gratin from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Garnish with chopped parsley.

It really is super easy to assemble once you have all the spices out, and vegies sliced.

Jules Greer

I'M HUNGRY - WHERE'S MY POTATO'S !! Kristi is having a "Candle lit dinner party"tonight. I asked her to video - hope she does so we can all see her cooking skills progress. Remember the wonderful photo of the French plow horse with the crocheted doiley (sp?) covering his eyes...his owner is coming to dinner.




Thank you for a great gift idea! I just ordered the raclette grill for my French son-in-law who will soon be moving to Massachusetts. Last time we visited his parents in France we were about to have raclette for Sunday supper but out son-in-law had to leave to go back to Paris for work the next day. Before he left he wistfullyl said "j'aurais bien mangé la raclette.." (I love this way of saying "I would have liked" to do something, such as eat the raclette) He is going to miss a lot of the dishes he loves when he leaves France, so I was excited to be able to make sure he can have raclette here.


Bonjour Kristin!

I truly enjoyed your story of Rif and Raf! It was a refreshing laugh that lightens the heart! I also very much enjoy your tales or "tails" of a day in the life of Smokey and Braise! A great imagination is a treasure, and reminds us to not take life so seriously. I always look forward to seeing your French Word-A-Day emails in my inbox! Your stories bring joy to my day!

Merci mille fois!

Karen - Maryland, USA

I love your imagination, Kristin. You see something of interest in things, people, and animals where I wouldn't even have given it a second thought. A simple photo of these birds and you are off and running with possibilities and humor. That is such a wonderful gift.

I will be entering every one of these recettes into my files. I'm on a low-carb diet always but a little bit never hurts and the family will love these delectable alternatives to my boring mashed potatoes.

I don't have a recipe to add but while watching the British show "As Time Goes By" on Public Broadcasting they mentioned using leftover potatoes for a recipe they called Bubble & Squeak!! I looked it up and here is the link (It also has a video clip of Paul McCartney making mashed potatoes):

As always, thanks for the french words, cute stories & for the great recipes. Gosh, I love this blog.

Candy in SW KS

Guess what I made for dinner last night?! :)

Jules Greer

Hi Candy - so happy to see that I'm not the only one back here on Sunday morning. I would never want to miss a comment. Are you snowed in? It's going to be a lovely 80 degress here in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico today.




I like the Rif and Raf and I think you have a good idea there for a collection of stories, maybe a kids book with French on one side and English on the other.
I read a lot of children's books and I think those two characters are funny. Mind you, I think you'd want to look into whether the names Rif and Raf are already used somewhere. The Swedish characters Olof remembers are, I think, Ric and Rac.
But I liked the idea a lot.

Jennifer in OR

Wonderful picture of the bag of potatoes in the window!!


Whoops! Posted comment on the wrong entry, so here it is again.

How about The Pioneer Woman's Crash Hot Potatoes

It's 28 degrees in Woodstock, IL and we have lots of snirt on the ground (snow+dirt)
Current: Cloudy
Wind: SW at 10 mph
Humidity: 84%

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