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Yesterday, I was in search of things to nurture, comfort and sooth and for me, cooking and baking are my sources of succor. What better way to lift up the spirit then a nourishing dish like the gratin dauphinois or a potato gratin. This variation, there are dozens of them, is simple. I rubbed my gratin dish with a split garlic clove, I layered the sliced potatoes with a layer of grated Swiss cheese and at each layer I seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg and I added the crushed garlic clove that I had rubbed the pan with, waste not, want not. I doused the potatoes with about a cup of heavy cream and I baked it for a little over an hour at 350. The house smelled so nice and homey with the aroma of nuttiness from the Swiss cheese, I could also smell the potatoes steaming in the heavy cream, you can tell the difference from potatoes cooked in cream from the aroma of fried potatoes in oil. I prefer the sweetness and richness of the cream induced aroma, it exudes comfort for me. The gratin is an amalgam of textures and flavors, all complimentary but  important contrasts as well, giving the gratin its tasty nuance. My gratin did its intended job, it was a nice piece of comfort taken from a culinary tradition so very dear to me, the French home cooking tradition. It reminded us of eating with our family at our uncle’s, our aunt’s or our cousin’s tables sharing stories and laughter.