Q: What’s poutine?
A: A traditional poutine consists of fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy. Sometimes other toppings are added.
Q: What’s a “cheese curd”?
A: Little chunks of white cheese with a squeaky rubbery texture. They generally come out of the same places that make cheddar cheese, as all cheddar goes through a curd phase before being pressed into molds and aged.
Q: Where does poutine come from?
A: It was invented in the Bois Francs region of Quebec in the 1950s or 1960s (contested claims in Warwick, QC and Drummondville, QC). This region is located roughly between Quebec City and Montreal. It became prevalent throughout Quebec in the late 1970s-early 1980s, entering the dictionary in 1978. For more info, see this timeline.
Q: Where can I buy poutine?
A: All over Canada and, since 2010, at a growing number of locations in the United States and throughout the world, but it’s best to eat it in Quebec (preferably outside of Montreal). This is largely because day-fresh curd cheese suppliers are hard to find outside Quebec, and the ones supplying Montreal are mostly bad.
Q: What’s the best place to eat poutine?
A: Check out my reviews.
Q: How can I tell a good poutine from a bad one?
A: Check out my criteria for the perfect poutine.
Q: Is it healthy?
A: The short answer is “no.” Anything eaten in excess is unhealthy, and poutine has lots of calories & cholesterol per bite. It could lead to cholesterol and heart problems, or stomach acidity complications (in my case, it may have contributed to laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR).) But that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying life once in a while. If you’re concerned about health, it’s best to share your poutine with someone else and then exercise to burn off the fat. Also, don’t clog your arteries with sub-par trash you won’t enjoy eating – have a look through my reviews first.
Q: How often will you be adding reviews?
A: For the sake of my arteries, I will not be eating more than one poutine every two weeks.
Q: What’s the best time to eat poutine?
A: It’s traditionally a late night food that tastes best after some drinking, but you can have it any time after noon (although some places serve breakfast poutine made with home fries).
Q: Is poutine Canada’s national dish?
A: No, though English Canada has tried to appropriate it. It’s about as hard to find a decent poutine outside Quebec as it is to find a decent French speaker, though not impossible.
Q: Is poutine Quebec’s national dish?
A: Poutine is probably still too young to be declared our national dish. This question was recently asked to a barrage of experts and academics by Le Devoir, who declared Pâté Chinois to be Quebec’s national dish. I respectfully disagree, mostly because I find Pâté Chinois to be a sub-par adaptation of shepherd’s pie. Besides: canned cream corn = blecch!.
Q: How can Quebec have a national dish if it isn’t a nation?
A: Quebec was recognized as a nation by the Canadian government on November 27, 2006. The words “nation” and “state” have different meanings. It took the rest of Canada a while to figure this out, but we’ve known it a long time.
Q: Are you really this snarky, arrogant and opinionated, or is it some kind of persona you are trying to put on?
A: Probably a little of both. Sorry if it offends you.
Q: Do you have an e-mail address?
Q: What’s the point of this blog?
A: This blog’s primary purpose is to serve as a useful resource to locals and visitors in Montreal (and elsewhere) seeking out a good poutine. In order to satisfy poutine purists and progressives alike, reviews will be divided into sections for CLASSIC POUTINES and NOVELTY POUTINES. Other visually unappealing high-cholesterol late-night foods will be presented in the OTHER TRASHY FOODS section. Finally, the POUTINE ACADEMY section will look at the history, linguistics, sociology and philosophy of poutine.
Q: Why is this blog in English?
A: Because I want to spread the good news beyond Quebec’s borders.