What I'm about to say needs to come with a disclaimer: I have never tried another recipe for traditional scalloped potatoes, so this is completely my own opinion, but I truly believe that my grandma's scalloped potato recipe is the best in the entire world. Whenever I taste them, I'm automatically transported back to my childhood, when she used to serve them with homemade white bread and thick pork chops, dredged in flour and fried. To round out the meal, we'd always drink cans of caffeine-free Coke, and for dessert: canteloupe fresh from the garden, dripping with juice. Food can be a really powerful thing, with its ability to transport you to another time and place.
My grandma lives in a retirement community now, in a tiny apartment with only a stovetop and no oven, so she can't make her scalloped potatoes anymore. When she moved there, she passed along to my mom the special casserole dish she always made them in, and when my mom died the casserole dish passed on to me. I've never used that dish for anything other than Grandma's potatoes.
There's nothing really special about this recipe or its ingredients; it's straight-forward and simple and just very homey. But because of the memories it evokes, to me it's one of the best-tasting things in the world.
Grandma's Scalloped Potatoes
Source: Grandma P.
3 pounds potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup flour
Salt and pepper
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Milk (estimate it: you want enough to entirely cover the potatoes)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine flour, salt and pepper. Heat milk over low heat in a small saucepan.
2. Butter a casserole dish. Layer a third of the potatoes in the bottom. Top with half of the sliced onion. Sprinkle half of the flour mixture over the onions and dot with butter. Top with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Add another layer of potatoes, the rest of the onion, the rest of the flour mixture, dotted with butter, and another 1/2 cup of cheese. Top with remaining potatoes and the remaining cup of cheese.
3. Pour milk over potatoes. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 1 hour, or until potatoes are fork-tender.