The Unmistakable Poutine

The Unmistakable Poutine

French fries are among the most popular Ben & Florentine franchises food items in the world.  Have you ever met someone who doesn’t love French fries?  Well, maybe not every country calls them the same thing; but deep fried potatoes—with a little salt—is delicious simplicity at its finest.

In Canada, though—and especially in Quebec—they like their French fries a little different. In fact, fries are just the beginning of a popular savory dish that has become quite the local Canadian delicacy.

We are talking, of course, about the poutine.  


A poutine is a very simple dish, though it might not seem that way at first glance. You just take a plate of chips (the English term for “fries,” which are twice fried potatoes) and top them with cheese curds and then brown gravy.

While the dish is certainly Canadian, you might have had similar dishes in some other parts of North America, particularly the United States.  In the US, you might find “loaded potato” fries (which are fries topped with baked potato ingredients) or “chili cheese fries” (the name says it all), or “carne asada fries” (fries topped with carne asada steak, cheese, and guacamole, popular in Southern California).  


With its history in Quebec, it should not be too difficult to derive that the term “poutine” has roots in French.  That makes sense, of course, since the French settled much of the Eastern part of Canada.

Indeed, the term “poutine” has French culinary roots, though nobody really knows where and when it originated. Some believe that rural Quebec just before the 1960s saw the birth of the poutine.

While the most common claim is that the poutine emerged before 1964 in Victoriaville or Saint-Jean0sur Richelieu or Drummondville, you can trace a similar dish back to the United Kingdom around the turn of the 20th century.  At the time, there was a “chips, cheese, and gravy” dish that was quite popular in Scotland and other areas north of England.

POUTINE: An Etymology

Even if we accept that the dish first came to be around 1960, similar dishes were common throughout the world, as mentioned, as far back as the end of the 19th century.  The name, however, could have roots as far back as 1818, with some arguing that “poutine” has roots in the English “pouding”: a dish made from flour or bread crumbs.