Saturday, April 20, 2013

The mystique of poutine

The mystique of poutine

October 13, 2026

Weekly Report Posted: November 03, 2012 02:42

Poutine (play /puːˈtiːn/; Quebec French pronunciation : [put͡sɪn] ) is a Quebec dish, made with french fries, topped with brown gravy and curd cheese. Sometimes additional ingredients are added.

Poutine is a fast food dish that originated in Quebec and can now be found across Canada, and is also found in some places in the northern United States. It is sold by national and international fast food chains, in small "greasy spoon" type diners (commonly known as "cantines" or "casse-croûtes" in Quebec) and pubs, as well as by roadside chip wagons (commonly known as "cabanes à patates", literally meaning "potato shacks"). International chains like McDonald's, A&W, KFC, and Burger King also sell mass-produced poutine in Canada. Poutine may also contain other ingredients such as beef, pulled pork, lamb, lobster meat, shrimp, rabbit confit, caviar, and truffles.

The dish originated in rural Quebec, Canada, in the late 1950s. Several Québécois communities claim to be the birthplace of poutine, including Drummondville (by Jean-Paul Roy in 1964), Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, and Victoriaville. One often-cited tale is that of Fernand Lachance, from Warwick, Quebec, which claims that poutine was invented there in 1957; Lachance is said to have exclaimed ça va faire une maudite poutine ("it will make a damn mess"), hence the name. The sauce was allegedly added later, to keep the fries warm longer.

There are many variations of poutine. Some restaurants offer poutine with such additions as chicken, bacon, or Montreal-style smoked meat. Some such restaurants even boast a dozen or more variations of poutine. For instance, more upscale poutine with three-pepper sauce, Merguez sausage, foie gras or even caviar and truffle can be found. Some variations eliminate the cheese, but most francophone Quebecers would call such a dish a "frite sauce" ("french fries with sauce") rather than poutine. Shawinigan and some other regions have Patate-sauce-choux where shredded raw cabbage replaces cheese. Fast food combination meals in Canada often have the option of getting french fries "poutinized" by adding cheese curds (or shredded cheese in the Prairies and Western Canada) and gravy.

Outside Canada, poutine is found in northern border regions of the United States such as New England, the Pacific Northwest and the Upper Midwest. These regions offer further variations of the basic dish. Cheeses other than fresh curds are commonly used (most commonly mozzarella cheese), along with beef, brown or turkey gravy. In the county culture especially, a mixed fry can also come with cooked ground beef on top and is referred to as a hamburger mix, though this is less popular than a regular mix.

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