*Disclosure: I received a copy of “The Farmer’s Wife” in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This month, I got a chance to read The Farmer’s Wife and make a recipe inspired by the book.
The Farmer’s Wife is a memoir by Helen Rebanks as she recounts her journey from farmer’s daughter hoping to break free from farm life, but then falls in love with a farmer and blazes her own path as a farmer’s wife and mother.
In a time when many people are so removed from farming, it seems the Rebanks is hoping to enlighten readers about the realities of farm life. I live in a fairly rural area of the United States, so I wasn’t shocked by any of the revelations but found myself nodding in agreement as she described some of the difficulties of farming and living in a rural area (though her experience is in England and mine in the US).
Throughout the story, Rebanks writes about the food she makes for her family and often shares the recipes. Instead of waiting until the end of the chapter or putting the recipes in an appendix (though there’s one of those too), Rebanks chooses to immediately share the recipe in the middle of a chapter. While this is nice (readers know which recipes they’re getting right away), it does disrupt the flow of the story slightly.
My full review can be found on Goodreads.
I decided to make a recipe from the book that Rebanks shared early in the story when she was making comfort food: dauphinoise potatoes.
I had never heard of dauphinoise potatoes until I read about them in this book. When I looked at the recipe, I realized it sounded an awful lot like scalloped potatoes - a favorite in my house.
Upon that realization, I did some digging and learned that dauphinoise potatoes is just a fancy name for au gratin (or cheesy) potatoes and that the recipes for scalloped and dauphinoise potatoes are almost identical except that scalloped potatoes traditionally do not contain cheese…except when they do. So basically because of the way recipes evolve and change, scalloped potatoes and dauphinoise potatoes are basically one in the same.
However, the recipe is quite different than the recipe I typically use. Mine calls for onions, milk, and cheddar cheese. The dauphinoise potatoes in the book call for garlic, heavy cream/milk combo, and parmesan cheese. I cut out the middle man in the recipe I made and used half & half in this recipe. The potatoes were ultra creamy and delicious! It was a fantastic side dish!
Adapted from The Farmer’s Wife by Helen Rebanks
1 pint (2 cups) half & half
2 cloves garlic, smashed
Salt & pepper
4 medium potatoes (about 1 pound)
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Place the half and half and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat the mixture to steaming.
Cut the potatoes very thin with a mandolin slicer. Add the potatoes to the hot milk and season lightly with salt & pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease a 2-quart lidded casserole dish.
Pour the potato mixture into the greased casserole. Sprinkle the cheese over the potatoes. Cover and bake for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Uncover and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the cheese begins to brown.