Confessions of a would-be poutine addict

Ian Robinson
June 06, 2011
By Ian Robinson
I’m not a health nut who worries over much about what he puts into his body, but as I’ve matured ….
Sorry, that sentence can’t be finished until my wife stops laughing. She’s not reading over my shoulder, but she’ll read it when it hits print and the magazine arrives in our mailbox, so we need to pause while she catches her breath.

That’s one of the only advantages of being married this long—you can anticipate the mockery. And the derision.

Which is pretty much constant. Except for when she sleeps.

Sorry to natter on like this, but once my wife starts laughing it takes her a while to wind down.

Particularly when it comes to a statement like “as I’ve matured.” It may take her 10 minutes or so to compose herself sufficiently to bring up the fact that I’ve been known to hide in a bush outside my house with a supersoaker waiting for her to come home from work. That I once won a bet with my 14-year-old son that I could cram more caramels in my mouth than he could. And that when I’m sad, watching Spongebob Squarepants makes me feel better.

I keep trying to explain the difference between “childlike” and “childish” but it’s a losing battle.

Like all battles waged in my home.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure Kathleen has dropped the magazine and wandered off to wipe her eyes or something, so it’s safe to continue.

I don’t worry that much about nutrition but as I’ve matured, one of my culinary goals is this: To stay alive.

I enjoy food, but I want to maximize my life span so I can enjoy lots of other stuff. too. So I no longer consider it acceptable to treat my body like a toxic dump site for the future.
But man … it’s a tough environment to try to do that because when it comes to food in this culture, we’re whacked.

As in: Patently insane. Nuts. Whackadoo.

And remember, this is coming from a guy whose grownup credentials are in constant doubt. My son refers to me as a “12-year-old with a credit card and driver’s licence.”
Not sure if that’s a compliment.

Anyway, they just opened a restaurant in my city that has become an instant hit.
This restaurant makes only one thing and that one thing is poutine.

I feel about poutine the way I felt the first time I heard about crack cocaine, which is kind of a baffled astonishment that there were people out there for whom regular cocaine wasn’t good enough.

I mean, people who inhale it already get an inflated sense of well-being, unlimited energy during a certain time frame, and the ability to talk like a cattle auctioneer.

It also assists white people in normally difficult tasks such as dancing.

But crack was invented by people who thought the only problem with cocaine was it wasn’t sufficiently fast acting or addictive.

So it is with poutine.

Poutine is popular among people who, when you put a big, greasy plate of french fries in front of them,  are not made happy.

They look at it and think: Hmmm. You know what this already high-calorie meal glistening with oil from the deep fryer needs? Gooey cheese curds.

Really? Who thinks like that?

And then they eat the fries and cheese curds and go: Gee. That’s not quite what I’m looking for.

Wonder if there’s a way to get the calorie count up just a little … maybe 1,000 calories or so.

Let’s see. I could just melt a quart of pig fat and inject it straight into my veins, but that doesn’t taste very good.

I guess I better pour gravy on top of the cheese curds and french fries instead.

Now, this isn’t the first time people have done something freaky to their fries.

In some parts of Europe, they put mayonnaise on french fries. And in Smith Falls, Ont.—the only place I’ve ever seen this done—they used to have chip wagons that sold fries with … drum roll please … melted butter. Seriously. Honestly. No lie.

But poutine has taken so many steps down the path to cardiovascular disease that it leaves fries dipped in melted butter in the rear view mirror.

But poutine isn’t enough, either. Instead of cooking oil, some poutine joints fry their potatoes in duck fat.

They sell poutine with chili, pulled pork, caviar, duck confit … you name it.

And poutine’s just a symptom. Remember that thing KFC brought out that was a sandwich made of bacon and melted cheese between two fried chicken filets?

This stuff isn’t food … it’s an Apocalyptic End Times Party In Your Mouth. It’s the kind of thing you eat if you don’t think you’re going to live to see tomorrow.

If Charlie Sheen liked food instead of hookers and blow, poutine would kind of be his thing.
I’d write more but I’ve gone and made myself hungry. I’ll probably eat an apple. But I’ll be thinking about poutine.

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