What’s Poutine?

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Poutine is a Canadian dish of French fries, cheese curds, and hot gravy. It originated in Quebec in the late 1950s and is popular throughout Eastern Canada. The word’s origin is debated, and there are subtleties to preparing the dish correctly. Poutine is available in some restaurants in the US, Europe, and Asia.

Poutine (pronounced poo-teenage) is a dish consisting of French fries topped with cheese curds and a hot sauce. It is originally from Canada and little known in the rest of the world, although some restaurants in other countries have a routine menu. Poutine is similar to American cheese fries or “disco chips”.

Poutine originated in Quebec, Canada in the late 1950s, and is now popular throughout Eastern Canada. Several communities within the province claim to have made poutine, such as Drummondville and Victoriaville. The most popular story is that poutine was created in a small restaurant in eastern Quebec owned by Fernand Lachance. Lachance had a takeout specialty on the menu consisting of French fries and cheese curds mixed together in a plastic bag. In 1957, a truck driver ordered the bag of chips with a side of salsa, dumped it into the bag, and ate it together.

The origin of the word poutine is a source of debate. Some believe it is an adaptation of the English word pudding, as it occurs in Oscar Dunn’s Canadian French dictionary from the late 19th century with this definition. Some Quebec natives believe that poutine evolved from the Provençal word poutingo, translated as “ugly stew.” The word poutine began as Acadian slang for a gooey mess and was first used to name an Acadian dish, poutine rape — a concoction of mashed potatoes, pork, and hot gravy.

Poutine has only three ingredients, but connoisseurs argue that there are many subtleties to preparing the dish correctly. French fries should be made with fresh, hand-cut potatoes and should be fried in pure lard as opposed to vegetable or other oils. The gravy, also known in Canada as barbecue chicken gravy, is darker and thicker than gravy in America or other countries and should be served piping hot.

The cheese used in the routine is fresh white cheddar cheese curds, which have a different flavor and texture than real cheese. These need to be fully defrosted but fresh and are then served over the fries before adding the gravy, the temperature of which helps melt the cheese. The poutine should be served in a bowl, which helps reduce the mess and keeps the mixture warm.

Poutine is popular enough in Canada to be on the menu of some of the country’s top restaurants as well as pubs and diners, as well as many multinational franchises such as McDonald’s. Poutine is available in a few restaurants in the northern United States and a handful of hotels and pubs in Europe and Asia.

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