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It’s no secret that I love Belleville. I fully support the “Belleville Hills” t-shirts I’ve seen around the neighborhood the past couple of years, proclaiming pride in this area of eastern Paris. The colors, the people, the odors ! The ongoing construction projects and the racaille, or riff-raff ! They all make up this vibrant, working-class area I call (almost) home.
What is it about the simple word gratinée that makes food so delicious ? Everyone loves crisp-browned and bubbling cheese on top of gratinéed potatoes or on the ultra-classic French onion soup. Only kids have the guts to ask for “more crispy” – plus de croustillant – but when it comes time to clear the table, I’ve seen friends fight to take the gratin dish away. Why ?