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Poutine: Fries with Cheese Curds and Gravy.

Poutine photo from: mandyf [Flickr]

Here's a "neat" Québécois dish: Poutine [wiki] (pronounced poo-teen). It's basically french fries, cheese curds, and hot gravy.

Supposedly, poutine was invented in 1957, when a customer of Fernand Lachance asked for french fries while waiting for his order of cheese curds. Lachance remarked, ça va faire une maudite poutine ("it will make a hell of a mess"), and the dish was born!

Heck, even Superman, er Super Frank wants Poutine! Thanks AC!

I really didn't think poutine was obscure enough to be featured on Neatorama. It's regular food. Have so many people really not heard of it?
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I think that we as Canadians take poutine for granted (and Good Host Iced Tea). Not everyone knows about this super cheesy treat! As an aside, I once convinced a BK (BK lounge...LOL) employee to make me onion ring poutine....mmmmmmm.... onion ring poutine......
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Although, not from Quebec, I was lucky enough to live in buffalo, not too far away from Niagara Falls. The Burger King in Ontario had the most delicious poutine ever.
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BK? poutine? no! The best I've had was near St. Jovitte P.Q. there the gravy is freshly made, the cheese curds from a local dairy, with hand pressed potatoes.
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everytime I see someone talking about this it makes me want it more. I may have to go to the Cheese Castle and get some fresh yummy cheese curds special for it.
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Trop bon la poutine!
They have the chicken poutine as well (hey! it's chicken, that must be good for my diet... not!)
Try it in the winter : minus 40 outside, plus 40 inside! (oh, yeah : Celcius, of course ;)
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Man, poutine is awesome. I'm totally shocked to see it on here. Also, out west we do pronounce it poo-teen, but all the Quebecois I know pronounce it poo-tin.
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I used to live in Montreal, now I live in Toronto. Man, there isn't any good poutine here! I even tried to make some myself, but the only ingredient I got right was the poutine gravy (which I could buy here, St-Hubert brand, in a can). I cannot find the right fries or cheese. The cheese I find here is too salty and the fries are always frozen! You need the right ingredients!

Btw, for the best poutine I ever ate, in Montreal go to La Banquise. It's at 994 Rachel St E.
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Wiki said :
The dish originated in rural Québec, Canada in the late 1950s and is now popular all over the country. Several communities claim to be the origin of poutine, including Drummondville, Québec (by Jean-Pierre Roy) and Victoriaville, Québec. The most popular tale is the one of Fernand Lachance, from Warwick, Quebec, which claims that poutine was invented in 1957, when a customer ordered fries while waiting for his cheese curds from the Kingsey cheese factory in Kingsey Falls (now in Warwick and bought by Saputo). Lachance is said to have exclaimed ça va faire une maudite poutine ("it will make a hell of a mess"), hence the name. The sauce was allegedly added later, to keep the fries warm longer. Linguists have found no occurrence of the word poutine with this meaning earlier than 1978.

There are many variations of poutine. A common variation, Italian poutine, substitutes gravy with "spaghetti sauce" (a thick tomato and ground beef sauce, roughly analogous to Bolognese sauce), while another popular variation includes sausage slices. Greek poutine consists of shoestring fries topped with feta cheese and a warm Mediterranean vinaigrette.

Some restaurants boast a dozen or more variations of poutine. For instance, you may find more upscale poutine with three-pepper sauce, Merguez sausage, foie gras or even caviar and truffle. Another variation, poutine Galvaude, includes shredded chicken and green peas, often eliminating the cheese — this mimics the typical Québécois preparation of a hot chicken sandwich. When ordering a fast food combination meal in eastern Canada, you can pay extra to get your french fries replaced with a poutine. Note that fast food poutine is considered "fake poutine" by poutine afficionados, as the freshness or the kind of cheese (a common substitution is grated cheese) is not the same as in Québec where you can usually buy fresh cheese curds daily in almost any convenience store.

The etymology of the word is a subject of much debate in Québec. Many believe that it may be an adaptation of the English word pudding, the word being attested from the end of the 19th century in Oscar Dunn's Canadian French dictionary with the meaning of pudding, and with similar meanings in Acadian French and Cajun French. Some marginal Quebecer linguists think that the word evolved from Provençal poutingo, which means bad stew, under the phonetic influence of English pudding (if so, this would possibly be the only Provençal word to have penetrated the modern Quebec French lexicon). However, the Québec office of the French Language (Office québécois de la langue française) states this is not true.
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If you've never tried this, and there's no place that offers it in your area, there are options....

Most purists insist on using cheese curds, but in a pinch, grated mild cheddar will do. Just go to the nearest place that offers fries and gravy, and bring some grated cheddar in a bag with you. Toss it in and stir, or talk to the guy and see if he'll let you drop the cheese on the fries before he smothers them with gravy.

The secret is that the fries should be HOT, to melt the cheese, and if you can find a place that cuts their own potatoes into fries that's the best...even better if they fry them in peanut oil, but not many places do.
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I'm from little old England and I've never seen or heard of such a dish, but it does look yummy, if a little unhealthy. We are being brainwashed over here to eat healthily and look after our hearts and not be obese so Poutine would be right off the menu.
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mmm...poutine...I am not quebecois (not even Canadian), but I agree with Gil that La Banquise in Montreal has the best poutine. They have a long list of poutine dishes, some with bacon, peas, onions, etc. And, they are open into the wee hours - perfect after the club! And, to those who can't believe people outside Canada haven't heard of poutine, I can attest to it - it's true. They don't know what they're missing!
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I'm a French-speaker from Texas, and I've never heard of poutine (though it looks delicious). I'm confused about why it would be pronounced "poo-tin" by some, and "poo-teen" by others. I would pronounce it "poo-teen," though my education and experience in French is mostly from and in France.

Anyway, continuing the theme of Québécois items, let's have a post on Les Cowboys Fringants--I think they could catch on in the US!
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Sooooooooo gooooood!!! Above comments are right, potatoes must be handcut, hot and crispy to melt the cheese curds the right way. Stay away from BK's version-- Not worth it at all.
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I live in Ottawa, capital of Canada, home to the Super Frank chip truck. I still believe the best poutine come from Quebec.

It's a popular item here in Ottawa. We have a diner here with a really great breakfast...It's called a Hangover Breakfast. Two eggs, meat of your choice (bacon, ham or sausage), baked beans, poutine, toast, and coffee, tea or milk.

I don't know if it will cure a hangover but it sure keeps you full until noon time.
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Well Honestly...
Poutine is best as most quebecois I know, with what is a somewhat slight bbq tasting chicken gravy.. its not sweet nor too spicy. St huebert does an OK job of selling a package version, however Pizzareia steves in Stanstead is good with theirs much like the IGA in the same town. I have found that St hueberts and some chalet swiss in quebec do an ok job. Mostly however , local joints in the eastern townships , as the Montrealers call them, do the best.
Dont be fooled. Most places in Montreal, while serving decent smoked beef(meat), dont do poutine justice.
Cheese curd is the ONLY way to go.. Even mild cheddar sucks. Ive made enough cheese to vouch for that.

You can make the fries thicker, thinner or even from a bag with McCains( Ore_Ida for those in the states)
The Gravy matters, as does the cheese.. I fyou want fancy versions with Muchrooms.. sure go to Montreal.. But really, Its not Poutine...
Which BTW is Pronounced Poo-tsein or poots-in
Poo-teen is the english way they pronouce it. Even a person from Northen New England knows Poo - teen doesnt work
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mmm!! I want some poutine, I'm latin but i live in Montreal and I LOVE POUTINE!! and yes quebecoise its the best one!! and hey americans you can make your own homemade poutine will be still good.
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