What is Raclette & What Do You Do With It?

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  I'm looking for a certain product. Its use is similar to a fondue cooker except that you use little frying pans and the food is cooked from the top and bottom of the pan. I think it is called a rocklette cooker but may not have the right term and am unable to find what exactly the spelling or term is. Can you help?

  You're so close — it's raclette. Long ago in the Swiss Alps, the story goes, cow herders would carry potatoes and gherkin pickles up the mountainsides to eat with their cheese and milk. They'd bake the potatoes in the campfire and melt the cheese on a rock near the fire. As it melted, they'd scrape the cheese onto the potatoes and pickles and eat until the cows, well, until they were satisfied. In fact, the word raclette comes from the French word "to scrape."

Nowadays, raclette grills are an excuse to have one more fun cooking gadget. They come with little trays that hold the cheese under a heating element while it melts, and a grill on top for cooking the potatoes, sausages, and other savories that you wish to slather with cheese. 

There is an actual Raclette cheese, although any good melting Swiss-type, like Fontina or Morbier, will do fine. Yodeling after the meal is optional.