What even IS Poutine?

There’s been some arguments online recently about a certain image from a politician saying he loved the local poutine where he lived, and the image had fries covered in gravy and… shredded cheddar cheese. Now, I think we can all agree that that isn’t poutine, right? I mean I’ve seen it made with mozza several times, but cheddar? Never. If the cheese doesn’t squeak when you bite it, it’s not true poutine.

Except at the same time, I’ve seen poutine restaurants with wildly different recipes than just your standard “Fries, cheese curds, and gravy.” I’ve seen them add chicken or other meats, peas, vegetable based gravies and vegan cheese replacements. Heck, I’ve seen poutine places that offer chili cheese fries, or a tomato based sauce instead of gravy. One of my favourite places to get poutine has a “hamburger poutine” which does actually have cheddar cheese, so at this point, I’m like… why not. Why not let this man’s cheddar and gravy on fries be called “poutine?” It kinda just makes sense. Are we going to say that Poutine can only be exactly one thing, when there’s so many different flavour combinations we could be trying out? It’d be like saying you can only have wine if it’s made of grapes. I mean sure, you can just call other similar drinks like… “fermented peach juice” or you could call it a peach wine, and people will sort of understand what it’ll taste like. Same thing with poutine. I feel like it could be a category of food in itself, rather than just one recipe. Who’s with me?

If Sandwiches can include hamburgers and subs in the same food category, and soups can be hot or cold, or heck, coffee and tea! They can be prepared in so many different ways and wind up tasting so differently, despite all being the same thing deep down. Why not do the same with Poutine?