Friday, May 9, 2014

Food Fact Friday - Poutine

On Will Jog for Food I did a weekly segment called Food Fact Friday, where my nerdy self does some research on food history.  Now it's back!  Every other Friday I will impart some fun facts about my favorite foods.  Let's learn some useless knowledge together! woohoo!  Since I'm living in Canada now, I wanted to write my first post about the delicious and decadent Canadian invention...poutine!

my fave poutine so far... topped with cheddar, duck confit and foie gras sauce
The dish originated in rural Quebec, Canada, in the late 1950s. Several Québécois communities claim to be the birthplace of poutine. 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") when asked to put a handful of curds on some french fries, hence the name.

Gravy was allegedly added later, to keep the fries warm longer. This happened at the restaurant Roy le Jucep, where the owner claims he sold fries with gravy and noticed his customers adding cheese curds to them.

Over time the dish's popularity spread mainly across the province (and later throughout Canada). In the late 1970’s it moved down south to New York and New Jersey, where it is often sold as an "off menu" item in a modified form -- 'disco fries'. This concoction is french fries, a beef gravy, and shredded, usually cheddar, cheese. The cheese melts completely, mixes in with the gravy, and the dish is a mess, and a delicious one enjoyed by late-night partiers of the disco crowds.

Nowadays, Poutine has a lot of variations. The best one I had so far was at a tiny restaurant in Niagara wine country (now closed, boo!) It had foie gras gravy and melted cheddar cheese. I’ve also seen an Italian version with marinara and mozzarella. But the good ole classic is amazing!

traditional poutine served up at the Distillery District Christmas Market
Here are the makings of a Traditional poutine:
 • Fries: Medium Thickness
 • Cheese curds: Cheddar cheese curds are usually used. The curd size is usually slightly smaller than bite-sized.
 • Gravy: Traditionally a light and thin chicken, veal, or turkey gravy, mildly spiced with a hint of pepper. The gravy should be thin enough to easily filter down into the mass of fries and cheese curds.

the first poutine I ever had, at Swiss Chalet this past November

Poutine Pop: In 2013, Jones Soda Co. originally a Canadian company but now based in the USA created a poutine-flavored limited-edition soft drink….EWWW!

Have you ever tried poutine? What sauce and cheese would you top your fries with? 

sources: Wikipedia, MontrealPoutine.com

3 comments :

  1. Please don't hate me for this...but poutine scares the hell outta me!! I eat plenty of things that would make people scream and run, so perhaps this is my one, "get me outta here" food! MORE FOR YOU! :)

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  2. I looooove poutine! We have a place downtown that serves the most delicious poutine! Okay... true story, I've only ever had it at this once place, haha! But a Canadian friend of mine went with me and she agrees that the poutine there is AMAZING! So that counts! ;)

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  3. I finally found your blog again! I ordered poutine at a small plates restaurant in Green Bay...delicious! I definitely felt better sharing it with friends. :)

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