Now I Am a True Canadian —

— For I have consumed poutine.

And it was curdlicious, thanks for asking.

65 Comments on “Now I Am a True Canadian —”


    You have now discovered the true Canadian secret. You must learn how to make it, because it will haunt you below the border…and eventually you will become obsessed with it.

    (Like I did after I moved back from Canada.)

  2. You couldn’t pay me to consume poutine.

    Well, I suppose you could pay me, but I still wouldn’t eat the stuff.

    I reiterate al points made during the “White Castle does not equal food” debate.

  3. Make that “Vraiment Québécois,” Jean, I mean John. Poutine is a regional delicacy that’s almost unknown outside “La belle province.”

  4. Unknown outside of Quebec? I can’t speak for the other provinces, but poutine is easy to find in Ontario and Nova Scotia. It’s a cafeteria staple.

  5. I had a classmate who was Canadian. Neat guy. Half Quebecois. Worked on a tall ship during the summer. We all just called him “Canada.”

    One day, the cafeteria was serving turkey with gravy in one line, nachos with cheese sauce in another, and hamburgers and fries in a third. Canada waited in all three lines to assemble these disparate elements into serviceable poutine, but apparently it was worth it. Being vegetarian, I didn’t give it a try (he and other Canucks inform me that substituting mushroom gravy is Absolutely Not Acceptable).

  6. Bill, this Newfoundlander says you are NUTS. Even McDonald’s serves poutine, you know? It’s kind of sort of well-known. It’s also gaining a cult following in Northern Florida due to me spreading the love.

  7. What Bill said – it’s not ‘unknown’ outside of Canada, but John just said the Canadian equivalent of “I have had a Philly cheesesteak, now I am a true American”.

    When he can pronounce “about” and use “eh” correctly we’ll see.

  8. Poutine is good. I’m a Quebecer that was gone from the province for about 2 years. I was teaching ESL in Asia. First meal I had when I came back was poutine. It made me sick the next day, but it was oh so good. Nice and greasy.

    That was in January, haven’t had any since and don’t plan to. Strangely enough, they had some poutine in Taipei, at a bar called Citizen Cain, which was owned, naturally, by Canadians.

    Some swear by the Ashton poutine, but I’ve heard that the small chip shacks have even better poutines. I’ve heard of a shop called Gaston in Quebec City which is supposed to be pretty good, though probably bad for you in oh so many ways.

  9. The picture on Wikipedia looks disgusting. I have a feeling it tastes better than it looks, but I’m not sure I’d try it.

  10. Julia @8: That is very good to know. I’m already quite fond of cheese fries. But I’ll admit that food meant to “squeak against the teeth” gives me some pause.

  11. Adela: I have a recipe for butter tarts and I’m not afraid to use it. Courtesy of my friend’s aunt who lives in norther NY State.

  12. Delicious it is. And you’re likely safe. For now.

    In a few days, however, you stand a 54% chance that your heart will burst out of your chest and beat you about the face and neck with the plaque deposits, therein.

  13. Oh poutine, you are awesome. And yes, quite hard to get West of Kingston. Even in Toronto it was hard to get the proper stuff.

    And to follow on from Dave R’s comment – specifically, Schwartz’s smoked meat. Mmmmmm Schwartz’s.

  14. Oh, man, poutine is good. Despite being in central Connecticut, I live near Chez Ben, a French-Canadian diner. So Quebecois that you can hear customers and staff speaking French while you eat. So Quebecois that the owner gets the cheese curds by driving all the way to a dairy in Quebec! So much that when you order a small poutine, the cook is just told “One small without,” to contrast it from the small or large “with” (peas and chicken). There is no other item on the menu popular enough to only be described as “a small.”

    It’s so good. If I have a “small without” at lunch, I don’t need–or want–to eat for the rest of the day. Canadians refer to it as “heart attack on a plate,” so I don’t eat it more than twice a year. But I sure look forward to it.

  15. Huzzah for poutine!

    Coming from Vancouver, I had never encountered poutine until I moved to Ottawa. And for five years, I refused to try it, because it sounded disgusting.

    Then some friends finally succeeded in getting me to try some. And lo, the heavens opened, and angels appeared singing “Gloria in excelsis Gravy”, and I was saved.

  16. Oh, fortunate you. I missed it for years when I moved to Chicago, but now I can make a facsimile myself — cheese curds from Wisconsin, friench fries in the oven and a can of beef gravy. Mmmmm…..

  17. poutine might put you on the road to becoming a Canadian, but you haven’t arrived until you’ve eaten late night at Tim Horton’s.

  18. Actually, to be a True Canadian you would need to be born there, or to undergo the ritual of Immigration and the twenty years of probationary acceptance.

    What you get as your reward for consuming poutine is the referral to a good cardiologist.

  19. Wait, what? I’m in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and you can get poutine (or versions of it) almost EVERYWHERE. Hell, even Burger King has a crappy version. Not many places actually use cheese curds, but still. Poutine is the only thing that i have gravy on. Mmm, poutine.

    Best drunk-just-out-of-the-bar-at-3-am-and-starving food EVER.

  20. Here in central BC you get get a serviceable poutine at pretty much every cafe and/or restaurant. It’s not all awesome, but it manages.

    KFC and McDonalds even have basic poutine. I’d say it’s getting quite well known as a Canadian Food.

    It’s one of those…oh my god, I shouldn’t…but I will sort of foods. Yumm.

  21. Back in 1988, I moved from Montreal to Halifax for university, and I may be partly responsible for introducing poutine to Nova Scotia. No place had it on the menu, so I began custom ordering it at several pubs and restaurants. Eventually friends and folks at other tables started ordering it, too. When I went back to visit in ’95, it was on the menu at many of those same pubs.

  22. Hmm, only trying poutine now? How many times have you visited Canada before this? It is kinda omnipresent up here… Or did it simply take someone to convince you of it’s heart-stopping deliciousness? =)

    Heh, since Worldcon’s in Montreal next year, you may want to try and arrange a deli squad to keep you supplied with poutine and smoked meat sandwiches… =)

  23. Hehe I meant “sir” but that’s not what I typed. I suppose that’s what I get for being online at 3:16 in the morning!!!

  24. You’re all completely evil. I returned from Canada to Australia 2 months ago, and I was only having minor food cravings, but now I have been reminded of so many foods I can’t get here.
    I would kill for even a mediocre Montreal smoked meat sandwich.

  25. If I rememmber the FAQ correctly you are now qualified to join the Newton users group–the list maintainer was from Canada and it’s amazing how bent out of shape the newbies get when the topic swings from where to get hardware to where to get cheese curds.

  26. As Amanda said above, poutine is alive and well in Winnipeg and in most of Manitoba, too. The best place I’ve found so far is a little restaurant called MTT just off Highway 6, about 45 minutes North of Winnipeg. There’s nothing quite like snowmobiling all day, then stopping there for a big plate of poutine (which you must pronounce the French way, otherwise the staff in the back will laugh at you).

  27. So basically it’s fries, velveeta and gravy? :) Because the wikipedia photo looked like something you stepped in and can’t get off your shoe. The smoked meats sound great but the poutine seems like it would be the equivalent of drinking the water in Mexico, you can do it but do you want to?

  28. Mmm, butter tarts. When we lived in the US, those and Mandarin oranges were not so easy to find. Hell, we couldn’t even find the little tins to make the tarts, and had to have them mailed to us.


  29. My family and I had poutine in Quebec City last year at an Ashton’s just down the street…oops, Rue…from our hotel. It was an…interesting experience. Everywhere we went in Quebec after that, down the King’s Highway through St. Anne de la Perade to Montreal, we kept seeing poutine this, poutine that, from little roadside stands to fancier sit-down places. Unfortunately, nothing I saw of poutine, from the fancy to the plebian, made it look (or probably taste) any better than what we had at Ashton’s. Now, guava jelly, hearts of palm and fried okra, that’s eatin’!

  30. I LOVE Poutine.

    So much that I even made a wallpaper of poutine.

    Anyway, when people who haven’t had it ask what it’s like, I like to describe it as arteriosclerosis in a bucket. I make my own here in the states, being that I can’t easily get it here. :(

  31. As Bill said, John, poutine really is more of a French Canadian thing. It’s another one of those great things that English Canadians would never have been able to imagine on their own, but eagerly appropriated when they discovered it. But you still have to go to Quebec if you want the really good stuff. I personally recommand “La Banquise” in Montreal, where aside from the classics, you can get more than 20 variations. For example, bacon varieties…

  32. Mike @36: REAL poutine uses cheese curds, or shredded mozzarella cheese in a pinch. Putting Velveeta on fries and gravy does NOT qualify as poutine in my book!

    And, Swampmaster’s suggestion of bacon poutine makes my heart start to pound in anticipation… of deliciousness or a heart attacl, I’m not sure.

  33. Amanda @ 25: Best drunk-just-out-of-the-bar-at-3-am-and-starving food EVER.

    Well, ya might get an argument out of me on that one. Must be the Quebec equivalent of what we have here in the South, namely Waffle House’s hash browns scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, and topped…or for the uninitiated – hash browns spread on the grill, with onions, cheese, diced ham and Burt’s chili…hmmmm…hash browns…

    For many years a festive evening with tasty adult beverages was not complete until we had piled into as many cars as we had sober drivers for and headed to the nearest Waffle House. One year 20 or so of us even showed up in full Halloween costumes. The best WH’s were near bar districts, and the best time to go was just as the bars were closing for the night.

    It was highly amusing to watch the partiers rolling in with their entourage, all in sequins and bling, trying to consume enough food to absorb their earlier indiscretions. Too bad our former favorite bar district is rapidly turning into condos in the name of progress. Not nearly as much fun!

    Ah, good times. Geez, now I want an order of scrambled eggs and cheese, raison toast, and hash browns scattered, smothered and covered…

    Scalzi – next time you’re in Atlanta for something…my treat!

  34. It’s good – and was perfectly available in Victoria when I was last there.

    Goooooooood stuff.

  35. I always thought that poutine was ubiquitous in Cananda as on a visit to Vancouver we found a poutine shop on Davie Street just down from our hotel.

    lol, the ubiquitous chip :)

    (only those familiar with the west end of Glasgow will get that one)

  36. Quoth @18 Bill the Splut:

    There is no other item on the menu popular enough to only be described as “a small.”

    Popularity (or the lack of) notwithstanding, it will be a Cold Day in the Alternate Destination ere I am heard to order a small by that name. That’s. Just. So. Wrong.

    Worse if dining with friends: “Sure, and we’ll all have the smalls.” Eeewwwww!

  37. haile @ 47:

    Hmm, was the place called Fritz? It’s the best place I know of downtown to get a proper poutine…

  38. haile @ 47:

    Hmm, was the place called Fritz? It’s the best place I know of downtown to get a proper poutine…

  39. Ahh nothing like a Stratos poutine on the way back from a long day skiing. The danger here is not falling asleep back on the road after the meal.
    My first criteria for a good poutine: the cheese has to squeek between your teeth. The more is squeeks, the better the poutine.

  40. Wendy@45,

    Thanks- by amazing coincidence, I was trying to remember the Waffle House hash brown choices.

  41. I think that you’re not TRULY Canadian until you’re in a crowded place, and you apologize to other people for allowing them to shove you and stomp on your feet.

  42. For years I have put cottage cheese on roasted potatoes (no gravy). Not quite the same thing, but nonetheless yummy in its own right…

  43. And I second the Waffle House hash browns scattered, smothered, covered and chunked (no topped for me, thanks)…

  44. I don’t eat anything whose name sounds like an elderly French hooker who caters to a rather unfortunate fetish. Though, as my late and very smart Grandma used to say, if you’re hungry enough you’ll swallow anything.

  45. Weird – I’m of Acadian ancestry (my last name is a classic Acadian one) and I love to use mayo mixed with ketchup as a dipping sauce for french fries, but the thought of eating poutine makes me nauseous.

  46. I’m not Canadian, but I like a nice bowl of poutine. Residual effect of many stays in Montreal. I have to say, though, it’s definitely one of those foods that sounds awesome when you order it, tastes awesome for the first 10-15 mouthfuls, but turns exponentially to ugh as more mouthfuls are consumed and the dish gets colder.

  47. #36Mike: I know Bryan’s already applied the gentle rod of correction, but substituting velveeta for real, small-farm cheese curd is sort of like substituting budweiser for beer.

    Of course, if you *are* a bud drinker by preference, rather than because there’s nothing better around (and despite having bought out the Canadian equivalent of Bud (so much better, but still only barely beer), Coors doesn’t count); go ahead and have your Taco Hell Cheese Fries with Gravy.

    However, the warning first seen on a “list for American reporters” during the Quebec Referendum that almost succeeded, with truly Rovian tactics, still applies: “Poutine is french fries and cheese curd, liberally covered with gravy. We can eat this; we have socialized medicine.”

  48. A coworker is heading to Toronto for a week in the very near future. Having had Poutine before, I gave him the Wiki entry about it so he would know what to ask for. He’s one of those “I’ll try anything once” kind of guys, so it should go well.

  49. I’m told there’s a Kosher pizza shop in Montreal that sells honest-to-gosh Kosher poutine. If I ever get out there, I’m totally having some.

  50. Welcome to Canada, John! I love Poutine – the more the merrier (but I have to watch my diet). Wish you had a place over at Blogger, as most of the J-Land community have migrated over there. Would love to see you migrate your old AOL journal before it gets deleted by AOL, on October 31st. I still go there for some useful info that I remember from the past. My old journal is still there until the dying end, too.
    Sincerely, Rose~*

  51. Carol @59: Out West, if you mix the ketchup with Miracle Whip, you get “fry sauce” (which is the only way I’ll consume this faux mayo).

    It’s good on onion rings and burgers, too :)

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