I Made Everything in My Life Into Poutine for a Week
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Food

I Made Everything in My Life Into Poutine for a Week

I ate it, drank it, introduced it into international politics and shot it at my body with a gun. I became poutine.
05 December 2017, 9:30am

This article originally appeared on VICE Canada

Poutine, as you know, is a Quebec-invented dish consisting of fries, gravy, and cheese curds. It’s one of my all-time favourite foods. When I go to restaurants, no matter what kind place or how fancy, if there’s poutine on the menu, I almost always order it. When I was a kid and found out poutine was a Canadian invention, It was the first time I felt real national pride. Healthcare and handsome prime ministers be damned: If there’s one thing Canadians are allowed to be smug about, it’s our ability to smother fried potatoes with cheese and gravy.

Something weird has been happening with poutine over the years. The dish has been wrenched from its place as the modest comfort food found in trucker’s diners and into the realm of Things Millennials Fucked Up. It started simple enough. Things like perogie poutine and philly cheese steak poutine started appearing at carnival food stands and eventually, poutine plus “whatever,” turned into the business model for an hugely successful international poutine chain. Then of course, New York heard about poutine and made it fancy AF.

But it got me thinking, if poutine has no limits, why should I? That question brought me to take poutine making to the next level over the course of a week. I decided to make everything in my life into poutine to see if there’s any room left for poutine to evolve. Over seven days, I put poutine on everything from pasta to salad, rating the tastiness on a scale of one to ten. I ate it, drank it, introduced it into international politics and shot it at my body with a gun. I became poutine.

Day 1: Good Morning Poutine

My wife, Jill, is a great cook. She usually has a menu for the week, and I asked her not to alter any of her meal plans to cater to my poutine lifestyle. She planned the meals as if she normally would, and I simply added poutine. I bought catering-sized bags of poutine ingredients to be prepared every night for each following day.

Jill made zucchini loaf for breakfast for the week. Surprisingly, savoury gravy, cheese and fries paired well with the sweet dried fruits, chocolate, and pistachio-stuffed bread. My first meal of poutine week seemed like a success. Then I poured myself a cup of coffee and spooned in a pile of gravy, curds and fries.

The poutine coffee sludge onto my tongue like a beef stew-flavoured slug. The saltiness of the gravy highlighted the bitterness of the Brazilian blend, and the rubbery finish of the curds with the soggy fries made for a gag-inducing swallow. The rest of the day’s meals were good—cabbage soup poutine and mushroom bacon spaghetti poutine—but I knew I would be traumatized by poutine coffee for as long as I lived. I told myself Day Two would be better.

Daily Poutine rating:

Coffee poutine 0/10
Zucchini loaf poutine 7/10
Cabbage soup poutine 10/10
Mushroom bacon spaghetti poutine 7/10

Day 2: Love Poutine

Day 2 was not better. I choked down more coffee poutine. The first sip is slightly salty, a pungent warning that intensifies the deeper you dive. The bottom layer is like chewing on the damp corner of a Motel 6 mattress. I couldn’t let poutine coffee beat me. Throughout day two, my body craved something fresh to counter the salt raging through my veins. Any type of vegetable or fruit would do, but sticking to the rules of my cleanse, I would have to poutinify it. I stared at a bowl of apples as if they were a faroff oasis beyond the walls of my cheese prison.

As if sensing my struggle, Jill surprised me with poutine pizza for supper. Poutine pizza is incredible. The homemade thin crust with gravy sauce, curds and sliced potato was made with the lowest quality grocery items legally possible, but also love. Jill pulled me from my despair. I could do this challenge knowing I wasn’t alone.

Daily Poutine rating:

Coffee poutine 0/10
Zucchini loaf poutine 6/10
Leftover mushroom bacon spaghetti poutine 8/10
Poutine pizza 10/10

Day 3: Diabetes Poutine

Given my new confidence, I wanted to push the limits of poutine by creating a pile of sugary gravy and cheese slop hereby known as dessert poutine. This delicacy consists of poutine garnished with chocolate bars, candy canes and a slice of Dairy Queen Skor-flavoured Treatzza Pizza, and finally slathered in gravy. I ate it alone. The brown meat juice and red food dye from the candy canes mixed together to become the colour of raw organs. The goo was a minty accent to the hot cheese and melted ice cream. Dessert poutine is something a depressed Oompa Loompa might eat before drowning himself in the chocolate river. For supper, I kept things light and had a salad topped with poutine.

Daily Poutine rating:

Coffee poutine 0/10
Zucchini loaf poutine 5/10
Dessert poutine 2/10
Salad poutine 6/10

Day 4: Putin Poutine

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s name in French is Vladimir “Poutine.” I discovered this because I wanted to research poutine culture in Quebec, but every time I searched for “poutine” on French language websites, I kept getting stories about the current leader of the Russian Federation. I may have stumbled onto a bombshell revelation here: Is there a connection between Putin and the Québécois food? I decided to host a Putin Poutine-themed party to assemble a crack team and unlock the Putin/poutine conspiracy, or at the very least introduce poutine into international politics.

I invited some friends over and decorated the house with Russian flags, photos of the Kremlin, and Ivan Drago from Rocky—Russian stuff. I made my guests wear Putin masks while we ate poutine and discussed foreign affairs. I went around the table to ask everyone’s opinions on the connection between Putin and poutine, and the following conclusions were made:

“I would go bear hunting with Putin. Other than that, I don’t think there is a connection.”

“Didn’t he invent poutine?”

“If I were Vladimir Putin, I would make poutine the national food of Russia.”

My friends and I do not often talk about international politics.

Later, I found out the whole Putin/poutine thing is due to a translation issue that arises when putting Cyrillic letters into the Roman-based alphabet and is probably not an international conspiracy. I had a lot of time to think about this while sitting on the toilet. My intestines had become a tangled cheese slinky.

Daily Poutine rating:

Coffee poutine 0/10
Zucchini loaf poutine 4/10
Leftover salad poutine 6/10
Putin poutine 7/10

Day 5: Relaxation Poutine

After a day of high stakes, politically-charged eating, I needed to unwind. I drew myself a gravy and cheese footbath, lathered on a gravy facial mask, lit some candles and put on the soothing sounds of a deep fryer. I also created a relaxation poutine smoothie. The recipe calls for poutine, beats, green leaf vegetables, homogenized milk blended with ice to finish. The result is a luscious chewy pink glop with a briny bite. I call it The Salty Gwyneth Paltrow. As I sat in meditation with gravy seeping into my pores, I realized poutine is the highest form of self care.

Daily Poutine rating:
Coffee poutine 0/10
Zucchini loaf poutine 3/10
Leftover Putin poutine 6/10
The Salty Gwyneth Paltrow 5/10

Day 6: Tactical Poutine

Is poutine worth dying for? Absolutely. Sometimes drastic measures are needed to defend what’s right and good. Others share my passion to protect the sanctity of poutine. A man from Montreal named Nicolas Fabien-Ouellet recently made headlines for his idea that calling poutine a Canadian dish rather than Quebecois counts as cultural appropriation. Indeed, there will be those who believe my important research on poutine here is offensive. I disagree. I love poutine. I would take a bullet for poutine.

That’s why I invented the tactical poutine. To make a tactical poutine, you put on a protective vest made of French fries. Next, you get some hollow 0.68 caliber paintball rounds and fill them with gravy and cheese. The final step is to combine the French fry flak jacket and gravy balls by having someone shoot you. This is a convenient way to prove a point and make poutine on the battlefield. I recruited my friend Chad to pull the trigger. He shot me three times with the gravy balls, with one direct hit on the fries and two delicious stray bullets slamming into my torso.

Despite the occasional crunch of shell casing and bloody lacerations on my gut, the tactical poutine tasted like heroism.

Daily Poutine rating:

Coffee poutine 0/10
Zucchini loaf poutine 2/10
Leftover Putin poutine 6/10
Tactical poutine 5/10

Day 7: Yoga Poutine

I slurped down my final cup of poutine coffee. It still tasted like going mouth to ass on a stroke risk factor. But I’d done it. I made everything in my life into poutine for a week. The only thing left was to combine poutine and yoga. Yoga pairs with everything if you’re bold and white enough. I did about 20 minutes of poses while occasionally shoveling poutine in my mouth. Sun salutations, upward facing dog, and anything that required engaging my stomach hurt a lot due to the previous day’s tactical poutine. It was tough, but I had to dig deep. A healthy body means exercise; poutine yoga would make me strong, probably.

I finished my final day off with some good, old-fashioned poutine. This poutine was free from politics, the stresses of life, and social demands. It was neither a metaphor for anything grand, nor a religious experience. It was fries, gravy and cheese curds. I ate it with a fork sitting on the couch with my family. We watched TV and that was all. The poutine was OK, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

Daily Poutine rating:

Coffee poutine 0/10
Zucchini loaf poutine 1/10
Yoga poutine 6/10
Good, old-fashioned poutine 7/10

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