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the perils of poutine

March 16, 2012

In response to a recent post, my longtime friend yet miniature golf foe Gordon

wondered if poutine might be some sort of great sausage.  Gordon is a man of

accomplishment.  He has a master’s in social work from Baylor University.  He

has been interviewed by Ted Koppel on ABC’s “Nightline”.  He has survived for

25+ years in the bubble that is the Beltway of Washington, D.C.


So it saddens me to learn that he might have an unrealistic regard for ground

meat in casings and/or a lack of knowledge of Canadian cuisine.  Poutine, old

chum, is a dietary staple here, much like grits, corn pone and hushpuppies

were for us in Louisiana.


It’s French fries covered with cheese curds in brown gravy.  It’s standard fare

at greasy spoons, pubs and chip wagons nationwide.  It’s offered at fast food

franchises like McDonald’s, A & W, Wendy’s, KFC and Dairy Queen.  It’s what

fuels Canucks for the long winters and hockey games.  It is Canada.


Poutine originated in Quebec and spread like a prairie fire to B.C.  One version 

of its birth has Fernand Lachance inventing it in Warwick, Quebec, in 1957.

He allegedly proclaimed “ca va faire une maudite poutine” (“it will make a

damn mess”), and that was before the gravy was added to keep the fries warm



The gravy typically is made from chicken, veal or turkey.  The fries are of

medium thickness, with a crunchy exterior and soft interior.  The hot gravy

is poured over the fries and cold curds just before serving to optimize the

gastronomical experience.


This epicurean delight is rich in many ways.  If you dine on poutine at A & W,

its 333 gram serving will give you 39 percent of your RDA — 780 calories — and

70 milligrams of cholesterol.  You’ll get 110% of your daily need for saturated

fat and 96% of your sodium.  As a bonus, “the food is quite low on sugars”, so

saith the website CalorieLab.


If you choose to eat it at the more upscale Dairy Queen, you can cut the calorie

count to 620 with its regular portion of 260 grams for $4.69 (CDN), but you can

double that with the poutine basket for a mere $2.20 more.


The best deal is at KFC, where you can buy a 371 gram order for $4.47.  That gives

you a whopping 860 calories, 320 more than its notorious Double Down, which

features bacon, cheese and the Colonel’s secret sauce encased in two pieces of

Original Recipe chicken fillets. 


If you order both courses, add some mac & cheese, top them off with a Fudge

Brownie Little Bucket Parfait and wash it all down with a giant soda, the staff

is legally obliged to call 911 for you.


On the plus side, poutine is a fairly good source of calcium and Vitamin A.


There are fancier versions of this classic.  They can contain beef, pulled pork,

lamb or some sort of great sausage.  Wikipedia observes that “atypically, the

dish may include additional ingredients such as lobster meat, rabbit comfit,

caviar and truffles.”


So that’s poutine, Gordie.  Maybe you could make a damn mess of it when you

watch the Baylor men’s and women’s teams as they navigate through March

Madness.  I’ll be up here watching and trying to figure out how Canadians

stay so robust and cheerful with their arteries clogged.              

  1. March 16, 2012 3:30 pm

    How extremely random that you and I both wrote about (or, well, you wrote about and I mentioned) poutine on our blogs today. 😀

    • March 18, 2012 10:26 am

      If great minds do indeed think alike, maybe it’s also true for us in the minor leagues. I really enjoyed that post, Tiff, and I recommend it to my readers. It’s “Our Upstairs Neighbors” here. I plan to comment on it at your site Monday.

  2. Gordon permalink
    March 19, 2012 8:38 am

    Ahh, poutine!! Sounds great and I’m hungry already. Sounds like I won’t have to go through withdrawl when I come to Canada from missing chili-cheese-fries here — which make their own kind of mess in the arteries. But me and my arteries will go smiling — and probably wanting one more taste of poutine, of sadly for those of us in the States, something that passes for poutine. And I did make a damn mess of it watching the Baylor men and women. So far so good. Sweet 16 in nice for the men, but if they get past Xavier — no given but kinder than Duke — there looms Kentucky. The women — who are equally fun to watch — are having to motivate themselves with thoughts of being the first college team — men or women’s — to go 40-0 during the season. But be 1st most of the year has it dangers. Thanks again for the blog and thanks for introducing me to poutine.

    • March 20, 2012 12:15 pm

      You are most welcome, Gordie. Best of luck to both versions of the Bears. I can pull for them unless they meet up with the Jayhawks, which would be the championship game for the lads, Sweet Sixteen for the ladies. Are you checking your cholesterol level often? Vootie.

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