by Christopher Mitchell for USA TODAY 10Best

A quick guide to poutine

Poutine, it must be noted, originated in Quebec, but it’s hard to imagine any one dish having a greater cultural impact on Canada as a whole. Here's what you should know about this iconic meal.

First, let’s talk about the composition of a classic poutine. The core of a poutine involves fries, cheese curds and gravy – that’s it.

Many claim the first version of poutine was created in 1957 by Fernand Lachance at Café Ideal. He added cheese curds to fries at the request of a customer and famously exclaimed, "ça va te faire une maudite poutine!" That translates to "that will make a damned mess!"

So, where does the gravy come into play? Well, the Canadian Encyclopedia notes, in 1963, "when customers complained that the fries grew cold too quickly on the plate, he (Lachance) doused the fries and curds with gravy to keep them warm."

Jean-Paul Roy, owner of Le Roy Jucep, claimed that he was actually the first to serve up the magical trifecta in 1964, after frequent requests from customers. So, it’s hard to know which restaurant first served poutine in the Centre-du-Québec region.

In 2007, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) aired a mini-series called "The Greatest Canadian Invention," and the people of Canada voted poutine as the ninth greatest invention in the country’s history.

You can find quality poutine outside of Quebec to be sure, but it’s worth tracing this story and these flavors to their origin in Canada’s belle provence (beautiful province).

When you do take the plunge, just make sure you’ve got full-bodied cheese curds on your poutine, as grated cheese is blasphemous to say the least.

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