From Ruth Reichl's Gourmet Weekly to you via my inbox, lol.
Her words: This scalloped potato dish is part of our culinary repertoire, and we hope it will become part of yours too. There is something about the texture of the potatoes surrounded by creamy goodness and topped by golden brown cheese that wows people. It is perfect for a buffet supper or potluck; in our experience, it is the first thing to disappear. The technique of starting the potatoes in a saucepan of half-and-half and ending them in a buttered gratin dish comes from the masterful Jacques Pépin.
Couldn't say it better myself, so I didn't. :) I did make minor tweaks to the ingredients/amounts.