What Makes the Poutine So Special?

What is not to love about French fries?  Deep fried potatoes with some salt and a little ketchup is the simplest combination but it is such a delicious one! They type of potatoes you use can give them a richer or sweeter flavor, as can what you fry them in (different types of oil or butter, etc).  You can also use mustard or mayonnaise or garlic…or anything else you wish!

But in some parts of the world, French fries (or, fried potatoes, to be more accurate) are really just a foundation for something so much better.  You can find chili fries, for example, as a Tex Mex recipe throughout the United States (and particularly, the Southwest).  In Southern California, specifically, you will find “carne fries.”

And all of these Franchise Ben et Florentine recipes might not exist today if not for the classic poutine.


This is not to say that the poutine is a particularly old dish. On the contrary, the dish we know as the poutine is believed to have its origins in rural Quebec, and probably developed before the 1960s (though many Canadian provinces claim to be the birthplace).  However, the dish we know as the poutine was likely based on a “chips, cheese, and gravy” dish that became popular in the United Kingdom (and Northern England, obviously) at the turn of the 20th century.


It is this dish—from the UK—that many believe was the foundation for the poutine.  So how did it get its name?

While facts about its origin as a particular dish is hazy—the term “poutine” only dates back to 1982—documents show that the term had been in circulation as far back as 1810.  In fact, some argue that its root is “pudding” or, more accurately the old English “pouding” which was a “dessert made from flour or bread crumbs.”


To keep it simple, a poutine a plate of fries with cheese curds and brown gravy.  To be a little more specific, thought, the perfect poutine consists of medium-thick cut potatoes, twice fried (this keeps the inside soft and fluffy while the outside is crispy). The potatoes are topped with cheese curds and then brown gravy (like the kind you would serve with turkey or veal) and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, of course.