Category Archives: Poutine Academy

Did the Greeks Ruin Poutine?

Restaurant Salonika

“I’m not a racist, but there’s a reason poutine is worse in Montreal than elsewhere in the province,” said my racist friend. “There are too many Greek immigrants running restaurants.”

The Greeks are not only being blamed for ruining the Euro; it seems they also ruined poutine. While I think this is an unfortunate oversimplification, let’s humour my friend for a minute. It is true that many of the Greek-run restaurants I have tried in Montreal use grated cheese rather than superior curd cheese. This may be cultural – I have never been to Greece, but my travels in the surrounding countries have shown that “fries with grated cheese” appears on many bar menus. A little bit of googling confirms that the Greeks are also fond of something similar, though I’ll have to admit that the feta used in this recipe sounds like a better curd-cheese substitute than the bland pizza cheese used in Montreal.
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Poutine Hip-Hop

Not sure what to make of this (but I do have an opinion on their endorsement of La Banquise).

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Laryngopharyngeal Reflux vs. Poutine

ORL

Although I would love to continue eating poutine on a weekly basis, my system can’t take it. I have been diagnosed with “laryngopharyngeal reflux.” In normalspeak, this means I have a problem with gagging, choking, and coughing out my own bile. All this acid rising up to my throat had consequently swollen it to the point where I felt like I had a golf ball lodged in it. Breathing and swallowing were becoming difficult. And then there’s all the nasty stares I’ve been getting on the street as I walked around hacking out my entrails and occasionally throwing up. Although there’s no direct link between eating poutine and this condition, stomach acidity problems are aggravated by greasy food.

So now I’ve been in healing mode for the past two weeks. In addition to acid-reducing drugs, I have given up my half dozen cups of strong sweet tea a day, greasy foods, alcohol, and red meat. I will continue this boring regimen until things get back to normal. Frankly, I’d rather be eating poutine than alfalfa sprouts, but I value my respiratory and digestive systems. After a week of thoroughly unpleasant caffeine withdrawal symptoms, I am no longer feeling like someone on the verge of death. I’ve stopped gagging. It’ll probably be a few months until my throat heals.

Things have slowed down a bit, but they won’t stop. I won’t stick with this extreme diet for life, but I probably won’t want to go back to a weekly poutine. However, I will continue to keep this blog up with the help of friends. I had a quarter poutine earlier this week and will blog on it soon. Stay posted!

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The Inventor of Poutine?

Poutine

Le Roy Jucep in Drummondville is one of the two places in Quebec that claims to have invented poutine. Although people had been combining cheese curds and fries as early as 1957, Jucep’s founder Jean-Paul Roy says he was the first to add gravy to the mix and call it poutine in 1964.

L'inventeur de la poutine

When asked where the name came from, Roy says many grandmothers used the English word “pudding” to refer to any kind of mix. In Québec French, this came to be pronounced “poutine.” Since Roy’s cook was nicknamed Ti-Pout, the staff used to joke around that “Ti-Pout is making poutine,” which eventually led them to enshrine the name in their menu. These claims are still hotly debated within the region, but it hasn’t stopped Jucep from parking www.linventeurdelapoutine.com as a domain name, not to mention plastering the claim all over their restaurant. Read more about Roy’s claim here.

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Vive la France! Vive la Frit’Cheese!

I was asked by a friend to write a critique in the flowery style of a pretentious Parisian. I started writing, but soon realized there was no need for yet another Québécois parody of the French. Isn’t it enough that someone in France tried to launch the poutine under the ridiculous name “Frit’Cheese“? They’re good enough at parodying themselves that they don’t need us to do it. But, since I don’t want to disappoint, here’s what I came up with:

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Poutine Global Domination Timeline

Maudite Poutine

Last week, I finally got around to reading Maudite Poutine, Charles-Alexandre Théoret’s definitive history and celebration of Quebec’s legendary dish. While an English translation is not yet available, here is an executive summary of poutine’s slow ascent to global domination through some of the key events outlined in the book.

1957: Construction worker Eddy Lainesse orders fries at Warwick’s Café Idéal, asking restaurant owner Fernand Lachance to mix it up with some cheese curds. “I can put it in a waxed sandwich bag for you,” said Lachance “but you’ll end up with a damned mess (Ça va faire une maudite poutine)!” Lainesse then adds some salt and vinegar to the bag and walks out with his messy “poutine”. The concoction soon catches on among other construction workers in the region.

1964: Although Fernand Lachance claims to have introduced brown sauce to the “poutine” sometime between 1957 and 1964, Jean-Paul Roy has a competing claim: “Nobody had the idea before me.” Owner of Le Roy Jucep in Drummondville, Roy noticed his patrons’ curious habit of adding cheese to their “frite sauce,” so he added the combo to his menu under the name “fromage-patate-sauce” in 1964. Looking for a better name for his dish, Roy says many grandmothers used the English word “pudding” to refer to any kind of mix, which in Québécois French came to be pronounced “poutine.” Since Roy’s cook was nicknamed Ti-Pout, the staff used to joke around that “Ti-Pout is making poutine,” which eventually led them to enshrine the name in their menu.

1972: Snack bar owner Ashton Leblond introduces poutine to the Quebec City region after trying it out at his brother’s snack bar in Arthabaska. The legendary Chez Ashton poutine is born.

1975: The Poutine Pundit is born in Quebec City, eating his first poutine 5-6 years later (okay, that’s not in the book).

1983: Poutine first appears in Montreal.

1987: Burger King becomes the first international fast food chain to sell poutine at a few select restaurants in Quebec, spreading to all restaurants in the province a year later.

1990: All McDonald’s restaurants in Quebec add poutine to their menu.

1990-1995: Poutine spreads to English Canada, and is embraced wholeheartedly.

1998: First recorded poutine in Asia, at all New York Fries restaurants in Korea. Poutine also begins its slow infiltration of the United States.

2004: World’s biggest poutine prepared by New York Fries in Toronto, referred to as “Canada’s national dish” in the press, leading to a backlash against this English-Canadian cultural appropriation of a Québecois original.

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Miss Poutine

Miss Poutine

Wow… this card game almost looks fun.

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