Poutine: Your Misunderstood Friend
You may think you know all there is to know about poutine. You may feel that it is a relatively simple food, and there is no need for further descent into the vast greasevats of Poutinanalysis to consider yourself an expert on the topic. Fries, gravy, and cheese curds, right? Wrong. It is a science in itself, as meticulous as a cardiac revascularization, yet as elaborate as the sculpture of Hermes. indeed, poutine is the geodetic datum from which the rest of the world orients itself on Canadian culinary affairs. It is an ambassador, opening the borders of the Canuck kitchen, and wafting forth the knowledge of other such national delights as maple syrup, tourtiere, and beaver tails.
Poutine is believed to have been invented in Quebec in 1957 by restaurant owner and revolutionary Fernand Lachance. Supposedly, the word "poutine" once referred to a trifle made with leftover cake or cookies, custard and fruit. Where i live, mere centimetres from the Ontario/Quebec border, it is pronounced "poo-TIN". Drift further south, and you'll hear many a wandering soul refer to it as "poo-TEEN". During my glory days as a Fast Food Assembly Engineer, i once heard it referred to as "POH-ten". The correct pronunciation forms a nice wide circle in your mouth, perfect for inserting the lush drippings of freshly melted, formerly squeaky curd into.
As for the curd: accept no imitations. Curd is about the size of a bird's egg, but irregularly shaped and contoured in elegant slopes. when lined up in a row, the curds should resemble the picturesque peaks of the Laurentian mountains. String cheese, shredded cheese, and cheese cubes are not Poutine curd, thus should not be utilized as such.
Poutine Gravy is of the "BBQ Chicken" variety, and should be as thick as the tension gushing through the minds of each presidential candidate who is currently watching their opponent speak. It should be peppery but not exaggerated, poignant but not overwhelming... it should complement the comforting essence of the interwoven fries and curd which is it's foundation.
I hope you are slightly more enlightened on the mysteries of our national cliche. Yes, i realize i have only further propogated the stereotypes bonded to my fellow Canadians. This post has been brought to you by Nippy The Gingerbread Girl. You can read more of her oh-so-eloquent drawling over at her main communications centre.