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200th Podcast Anniversary Celebration Poutine!!!

Posted by Amie / March 21, 2011

Anniversary PoutineThe Midnight Poutine podcast turns 200 this week! In honour of such an incredible anniversary I whole-heartedly encourage anyone who wants to celebrate to buy/make/eat some of our website's namesake. To help you out I'll have a series of articles this week about the best traditional and non-traditional poutine in the city and how to make your own (the easy way, the hard way and the vegetarian way). Whether your poutine birthday celebrations happen at midnight or not, may we all enjoy some hot, messy, soul-satisfying fries, gravy, and squeaky cheese curds.

Because Jeremy isn't paying for your poutine since we didn't win the "best music website in Canada" award from CBC Radio 3, you'll need to put just a tiny bit more thought into how you personally want to celebrate. So first off, a little bit of background on poutine.

Once Upon A Time...

The history of poutine is foggy. Some people say it was the great Quebecer Fernand Lachance who in 1957 exclaimed out of the blue, "Ca va faire une maudite poutine!" ("It will make a damn mess.") No one really knows what he's referring to, though...hopefully something delicious like fries, gravy and squeaky cheese curds.

Some people even say the creation was out of practicality - the gravy was added just to keep the fries warm longer. You can almost believe this since il fait frette icitte, tabernac. If you don't think this isn't possible, just think about your winter heating bill and how sad you are when your food is ice cold by the third bite.

So ever-practical Quebec came up with gravy so thick it doesn't quite melt the squeak out of fresh cheese or make the fries soggy, all the while keeping the whole thing hot like your favourite winter sweater.

Some people actually like soggy fries, though. Some people like grated mozzarella cheese instead of curds. Some people even care more about the ratio of sauce:fries:cheese than the squeak quality of the fresh curds. And some people just want a heaping mess of maudite poutine -- the more the better.

Enjoying soggy, squeak-less, room-temperature poutine may be like cheering for the Leafs in the land of the Canadiens but there are those who do it and there are places that will sell you what you want, especially in the form of cheap delivery. Just don't talk about it. You won't make many friends that way.

And fear not, purists and non-purists alike! No matter what your preference, however wrong you may be, there is a poutine in this city just for you.
Poutine at La Banquise"Poutine - La Banquise" - Corn???

A few things you may not know
1. Every place that sells poutine uses a mix. Some places start with a mix and add wine, meat, mushrooms, of powdered chicken or beef stock to flavour the sauce, but I don't know anywhere that's making a real brown sauce, sauce espagnole, or veal demi-glace from scratch. If a place isn't using a mix, they're definitely making a simpler gravy, like the vegetarian miso-mushroom gravy recipe I'll be posting soon.

2. You can find vegetarian poutine, mostly made from vegetarian mixes, but most are beef or chicken based.

3. The cheese can be no more than one day old and can never be refrigerated. That makes it lose its squeak.

4. The best fries are double-fried so they're hot and crispy on the outside and sweet and soft on the inside.

5. If you have problems with MSG or sodium you're in trouble since most mixes include a lot of both. If they don't, they definitely include all kinds of other preservatives and things you can't pronounce. If you're looking for preservative-free you're probably going to have to make your own.

6. "Gourmet poutine" that costs $20 is not what most Montrealers are referring to when they talk about poutine. $5 take-out poutines may involve drunken nights, going to a great show that we talk about on the 200-episode-old podcast and waking up with hangovers from either the booze or the MSG (probably both). But calling fries with fois gras "poutine" is like calling dehydrated nuts a burger. Doesn't mean it's not delicious, but it goes against the rule that poutine is the food of the people. It's supposed to be cheap, filling, unpretentious and delicious.

It'd be pretty amazing if you were out in this great city listening to the podcast while eating poutine at midnight. So come back tomorrow for some recommendations on where to find yourself some midnight poutine.

Photos from TMAB2003, Kimberley Blue, Coreyu, Monkeyseemonkeypoo, and Mayamonster on the Midnight Poutine flickr pool.



Patrick / March 21, 2011 at 09:12 pm
Haha, now I have to hear Amie actually pronounce 'il fait frette icitte, tabernac'
Kaley / May 20, 2011 at 07:47 am
YouÂ’ve got it in one. CuoldnÂ’t have put it better.
Reverend Beel / September 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm
Poutine is a Sacrament, here at The DrapetomanicKirkO'"boB". Can you recommend a pi(l)grimage route, starting from Le Gare Centrale, or the bus station?
Amie / September 23, 2012 at 01:40 pm
Ma'amm Bolduc, Frite Alors, Au Pied de Cochon, La Banquise. Reserve at Au Pied de Cochon. End the night late at La Banquise. Let me know how it goes!
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