Many years ago, when we first started touring in France, we were surprised to find that, though the market stalls were brimming with splendid-looking vegetables, they were hardly at all to be found in restaurants. Even potatoes were a rarity. One could find frîtes in fast-food outlets and some cafés but such potatoes as were occasionally on offer in restaurants were almost always of the gratin dauphinois variety. This version, which also goes by many other aliases, is the one in which thin slices of potato are layered in cream, topped with grated cheese and browned under the grill. It is agreeable enough once in a while but too rich to want to have as the only kind on offer.