Many kids find au gratin potatoes -- the packaged ones with the powdered cheddar cheese -- sinfully delicious. Siblings have been known to fight over the crunchy, browned topping, leaving the underlying remnants for their parents.
As good as those prepackaged potatoes are, why not try grown-up au gratin potatoes, or Gratin Dauphinois, made from scratch with fresh ingredients. You may find the term scalloped potatoes used interchangeably in the states, but classic scalloped potatoes in France never include cheese, only cream [source: Ordiorne].
For au gratin potatoes, you can use Gruyere, Emmental, plain old Swiss, cheddar or smoked cheddar cheese -- really, any cheese that melts easily will do.
If you're adventurous enough to make au gratin potatoes, you'll want to abide by a few tips and tricks. Start with a recipe from a known quantity -- a chef or well established cook book. This is not the time to go amateur. The best au gratin potatoes start with Yukon-gold or other medium-starch potatoes to ensure that they absorb and hold the right amount of moisture [source: Brown]. This encourages a luxuriously thick and velvety cheese sauce. Follow the recipe to the letter the first time you make it. The final key to success is patience; don't cut corners on cooking time.
Every good cook tastes along the way, so once your au gratins are ready, be sure to taste a couple of large spoonfuls of the golden crust -- you know, before the kids have at it.