By Aaron Zaretsky
In mid-20th Century Quebec, Canada, a culinary revolution began: cheese curds on French fries. Like peanut butter and chocolate, the odd combination of cheese curds and French fries became a crowd pleaser. The cheesy goodness item was called 50-50: a mixture of 50% cheese curds and 50% fries. But something was missing, a sauce to hold everything together. Gravy answered the call, and the new name for this concoction was called “mixte” (French for “mixed”). Popularity ensued, and when large restaurant chains sold this hot commodity, the menu name was changed to “poutine”.
Poutine was the newest player in town and was eaten in Quebec before expanding across Canada. Unique combinations would be added to the original recipe. For example, several restaurants in Newfoundland serve a poutine consisting of chips, stuffing, and gravy. Also, in North America you can add to your classic poutine with extras like pulled pork, hot dogs, bacon, or Montréal smoked meat. Then poutine went global, reaching cities like Dublin, Singapore, and Quito.
Poutine became such a frequently used word to the extent where in 2014 “poutine” was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. A year later, poutine literally became a massive culinary dish when Trois-Rivières, Quebec restaurant, Planete Poutine, super-sized a pulled-pork poutine to an incredible 3,800 pounds!!! (See Image Above) This super-heavyweight giant was consumed by over 8,000 people and is the world’s largest poutine.
People have eaten poutine since the mid-20th Century. There are several unique combinations but the original recipe of French fries, cheese curds, and gravy remains the most recognized and honoured. Poutine is also one of Canada’s greatest inventions. Not too bad for this unforeseen dynamic trio, eh?