Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Poutine Routine

In a recent issue of The New Yorker, Calvin Trillin tackled the topic of poutine, the Quebecois dish of french fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy.
To paraphrase the kids on the old Life cereal commercial with Mikey, "he liked it!"
Nothing against Mr. Trillin, a long-standing favorite food writer of mine, but I thought of it first.
No, not before the Canadians thought of it. I just thought of eating some before the New Yorker article appeared.
We're a long way from Montreal here in the SF Bay Area, so my hopes of sampling a poutine depended on pluck and determination. (Well, I could go to a local restaurant, I suppose; poutine is invading the lower 48 at an amazing pace.)
And my poutine would depend on gravy.
I made (as usual, and yes, I'm boasting) a fantastic turkey gravy for Thanksgiving. Local, except for the gluten-free flour I used to thicken it (which gave it a new-to-me glossy sheen).
Cranky made local french fries (he cooks them in a skillet with very little oil).
And our farmers market sells local cheese curds. Wow.
So how do you assemble it? You just dump it all together on a plate. The cheese softens in the heat, and the gravy drenches everything.
Was it authentic? I have no idea.
But it was so yummy (I had envisioned giving it a hold-your-nose polite taste) that I gobbled everything up and want to have it again, soon. Really, you don't have to be drunk to like it.
I'm writing a song. "If my butt don't fit through that door, blame Canada."

25 comments:

Anita (Married... with dinner) said...

I'm writing a sequel: "If my butt don't fit through the door, blame Cookie!"

cookiecrumb said...

Anita: You're going to try it, aren't you!? I wish you would tell me if you like low-class food (made from pristine ingredients, of course), so I don't have to dream up European menus for when you come over.

dancingmorganmouse said...

May I have my chips just plain please? With salt and a splish of lemon?

Rev. Biggles said...

Yeah, that's what I remember! Except the fries were commodity fries, not home love. And, we didn't have any cheese or cheese curds here.

My real question is, was that you that took the picture? Really? Not for the obvious, but because the whites in your image are white. That's really rare.

xo, Biggles.

namastenancy said...

Have I told you lately that you are EVIL? EVIL! I had this a zillion years ago when I visited Canada and never wanted to know how to fix it. Just reading about it seems to add on 5 pounds. So, I'm going to pretend that I can't figure out how to cook this. Shall we blame it on the Boogie? No! We will blame it on the Cookie.

cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: Of course! It has never occurred to me to use lemon juice on fried potatoes; ooh, shiver.

Biggles: You remember this? It's greasy gross goodness. You gotta get the cheese curds in there, or else it's just Baltimore.
Yeah, I snapped that photo in plain backyard light under shade. Very bouncy light. Then I used the magic wand correction device in iPhoto. It's pretty -- bright. I'm interested in your observation, because I didn't know what I was doing. Probably just the cool plate it's served on.

Nancy: Apparently I am the bad guy today! Heh! I can imagine a gathering of people where you serve a measured portion to guests in something like cupcake papers. That'd be OK.
(And. It filled us up so much, we weren't hungry for days.)

dancingmorganmouse said...

I like lemon much better than vinegar on my chippies, it's tangy and delish!

Zoomie said...

I'll bet Bartlett really, really wanted some of that.

Rev. Biggles said...

Ya know, when we were shooting film we didn't have so many things to look out for. Back then, light meters would see white as 18% grey, give or take. Modern light meters in today's cameras have supposedly taken care of that. Next time you're looking through your digital pictures, or other people's images, are the whites white? Why is the snow grey? Why is the white wall grey? To make it easy, there's usually a setting in your White Balance menu where you can take a picture of something white, and the camera will get it right every time. Once the camera knows what is white, then all the other colors come around as well. Sometimes you can do it by just using your center-weighted light meter there on your D90. You'd end up exposing for the fries and gravy and not averaging the exposure in Matrix Metering. Your fries would need a little more light, making the plate brighter (a good thing). Grey is not the way.

xo

Melanie said...

Oh wow. Canadians also do this version of french fries where they soak them in malt vinegar and sell them at these little "chip stands" on the streets. They're fantastic.

I am going to have to try this though- sounds heavenly.

denise said...

hubba hubba -- these look dangerous!

mimicooks said...

Yum. I had Poutine on the ferry between Washington and Victoria. Good stuff!

Cute pup on the last post.

Pssst...I'm doing a gluten free tomatoe give away if you wanna come see me...

Greg said...

Fries and gravy at Hot Shoppes a million years ago. Memories! The addition of cheese curds could only be a good thing.

cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: I have four young lemons on my tree this year that look like they'll make it to adulthood!

Zoomie: Of course. She was really interested in it, but since she's never had a bite of food from our plates, she got over it pretty easily.

Biggles: I'm always taking pictures of white napkins! Of all the things my camera can do which I don't know how to use, I have always loved White Balance. All the rest of the stuff you're talking about just whooshed right through my hairdo. :(

Melanie: Soaked in vinegar? I'd try that! Have fun with your poutine; I hope you give it a go.

Denise: Could be dangerous, but my experience is that you really don't want it again any time soon. You want the experience, but you're too full.

Mimi: Poutine on the ferry. It's taking over!

Greg: Hot Shoppes? As in Virginia?
Yeah, you GOTTA get the cheese in there...

Marie said...

I need a plate of poutine and a big glass of beer now, thanks to you! :P Looks tauntingly decadent!

peter said...

This right here is why real French people just pinch the bridge of their nose, close their eyes, and slowly shake their heads from side to side whenever Quebec is mentioned.

cookiecrumb said...

Marie: Yeah, a beer would be perfect with it. Glug.

Peter: This is the great thing about re-creating the dish in the privacy of my Marin County home -- I have no idea how much of a boor I'm being.

Greg said...

Hot Shoppes as in Silver Spring Maryland.

cookiecrumb said...

Greg: Well, I'm waving to you from over here in Alexandria. Fort Hunt, '68.

Zoomie said...

Greg, me, too - Wakefield '65.

Rev. Biggles said...

Yup, totally hip. My mind wanders and my fingers follow.

It's fricken cold over here, can hardly type. I can't remember what a warm summer day is like anymore. I wonder how whiny I'd be if I were in Michigan at the moment?

Biggles

Sweet Bird said...

Maintaining dual citizenship and with half my family still in Canada I think I'm required to love poutine. But even if I didn't I still would. Nothing like finishing off a downtown pub crawl in Calgary, so drunk you can barely stand, and shoveling burning hot poutine into your face.

Not that I've ever done that before.

cookiecrumb said...

Birdie: I won't tell your mom!
We should set up a Canadian recipe file.

Hungry Hedonist said...

Ok. I effing love poutine. Still crave it as much as ever on that blistery day in Montreal. Need to eat more of it while I'm still young but can't seem to find it anywhere in SF!

cookiecrumb said...

Hungry Hedonist: If my link (the second one) is still active, it should take you to some places in SF where you can get versions of poutine. Or else, just get a can of gravy, a sack of fries from McDonald's, and a block of cheese -- you're on your own!