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This week, I tried the eFoods Direct Au Gratin Potatoes. I love the au gratin potatoes that my mom made when I was growing up. (She actually called them “scalloped potatoes,” but I’ve learned since then that, because of the layer of cheese on the top and how it is browned, they are actually “au gratin.” That’s fine, but I still call that recipe “Scalloped Potatoes.”) They were slices of potato with a rich, creamy sauce, and topped with cheese that was browned. We know that in an emergency it is important to have comfort food. My mom’s scalloped potatoes are definitely a comfort food for me.

How do the eFoods Direct “Au Gratin Potatoes” compare with Mom’s? Let’s take a look.

Mom’s recipe takes work. First, I usually peel the potatoes. It’s alright no to, but I prefer them peeled. Then I have to cut the potatoes into slices – not too thick or they take much longer to cook. I layer them with the soup mixure, salt, pepper and butter. I put foil over the top and put the dish into the oven to cook for a while. The recipe says for one hour, but at my house that’s never enough time, so I cook it longer – as long as it takes to make the potatoes tender. Then I remove the foil, add grated cheese, and return it to the oven for the cheese to melt and brown. Mom always made it look so easy, but it does take work.

The eFoods Direct Au Gratin Potatoes come in two Mylar packages. One packet is the potatoes – all sliced and dried. The other packet is the sauce mix. The directions say to first boil the dried potatoes in water for 10-15 minutes to rehydrate them. In the meantime, mix the sauce packet contents with water. Once the potatoes are rehydrated, drain the water from them and stir in the cheese sauce mixture. Return to the heat and simmer another 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally. Once the sauce thickens, the au gratin potatoes are finished. An optional serving suggestion is to put the potatoes into a baking dish and broil until golden brown.

The au gratin potato entree from eFoods Direct tasted alright. They weren’t terrific – the potatoes weren’t really thick enough or soft enough for my tastes. I have a hard time rehydrating potatoes so that they are more like raw potatoes, but maybe that’s too high of an expectation for emergency food. In terms of ease of making them, the eFood Direct version were much easier because it was only a matter of measuring, mixing, and watching the timer.

The bottom line: for regular everyday cooking, nothing beats Mom’s scalloped potatoes. That’s just a fact of my life. But if I were in a time crunch, I could make these again and that would be alright. If I were in an emergency where making Mom’s recipe wasn’t an option, then these would be fabulous. They can easily be cooked over any heat source, where Mom’s needed an oven, and to peel and slice a lot of potatoes. Mixing and cooking over a stove is much easier.

Next time, I’d add more cheese to the top of these. But even just as they were, they were fine. I don’t think we’ll use these up with our routine cooking, but if we need them, we have them. It was a good item to buy.

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