I say “France!”: you say... Tour Eiffel! Elegance! Wine! Raclette! Mmm... Wait a minute... Did you say… “raclette”?
On the internet, the definition of raclette says that it is “a small scraper”. Do you mean France can be popular thanks to a squeegee?
Wait, wait, wait... Just ask any French person what raclette is and they will undoubtedly yawn, saying “it’s so much more than a dish... a true mindset.” So yes, “raclette” is a French dish made of an unchanging recipe: potatoes and charcuterie on top of which you pour melting cheese (generally gruyere or comté).
More than a dish, raclette goes with its own raclette machine: a grill underneath which are placed 6 or 8 small pans (called “poelon” – pronounced “poo-hey-lon”) on which you put a slice of cheese.
On top of the machine, set your already-cooked potatoes and here you go:
Put a piece of cheese in the poelon in front of you and set it under the grill
Take one potato from the pot. Slice it in 2.
Take a couple of slices of charcuterie in the charcuterie plate and pass it around. Choose (for example) a piece of country ham—France has more than 100 different varieties)
By the time it takes you to make your choice, the cheese has already melted in its pan: let it then slide onto your plate and on top of your potato.
Look at that! Your pan is now empty: fill it up with another piece of cheese! Gulp down your first round of raclette and you'll be able to do it again and again: potatoes, charcuterie, melted cheese, potatoes, charcuterie, melted cheese...
Some hipsters reckon we can add some lettuce (sacrilège!) to make it greener: don't trust them, raclette is all about comfort-means-fat-food!
Raclette is typically a winter dish that you generally eat during your ski holidays to warm you up after a day in the snow. I don't know any city-dweller who doesn’t have a raclette machine. It makes dinners between friends so easy to prepare (just let the grill do the job!).
Symbol of a non-snobbish-comfort-food to be shared with friends, raclette is so popular that you can even find Facebook groups where members share their best advice for a successful “soirée raclette” and NYC aficionados.
And what about me, who doesn't like cheese?
Ask anyone! They will probably answer that it's not cheese! It's not charcuterie! It's not potatoes! It's raclette, period.