Canadiana 103


French fries … good; if not too often.

Cheese curds … good too; if you can find them near you, especially fresh. Every bite a silent squeaky sensation.

Gravy … also good; especially a rich and full flavored variety.

Ok, so these above food items can induce pleasurable  taste sensations in and of themselves. Two of those items can be eaten on their own and don’t really require any accompanying condiments except that who the hell eats french fries just like that, plain? I don’t know anyone who does that. The cheese thing on its own I totally get. No problem. Gravy on the other hand is understood to accompany a hearty meal of meat and potatoes or some juicy oven roasted fowl or some other favorite carnivorous victuals. But not on it’s own.

Now – combine the three first mentioned items. What dish do you get? I’ll give you a moment. No? No clue, no idea? You’re not Canadian are you. Poutine is the correct answer. Pronounced ‘Pooteen‘ and not like the Russian Presidents name Putin.

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Poutine is a French Canadien invention and it’s quite tasty if I may add; don’t try the Dairy Queen version. This dish comes from la belle province, Quebec. Yes yes, that also happens to be the place that makes this country Canada bilingual.

Imagine double fried french fries done Belgian frit style, but instead of slathering on catsup, mayonaise and or a spicy peanut sauce (as they do in Holland/Netherlands), imagine instead laying on a generous portion of those squeaky cheesy curds. Then ladling over that a tasty gravy et voila, lunch, dinner or snack time is complete.

I find its best eaten during the dull months of late fall and winter when the weight of the dreary weather demands thick sustenance.

There are two rivalling claims to its invention, the first from 1957 when a take-out customer asked restauranteur Fernand LaChance of Warwick to mix cheese with his order of fries. The other claim for its origination was made by restaurant owner Jean-Paul Roy of Roy le Jucep in Drummondville Quebec; dating his claim in 1964. It says so right on the website.

Either way, this is a dish enjoyed sparingly in my opinion, but one to be enjoyed. Bon appetite mon ami.

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