1 n. — Food
French fries covered in gravy and topped with cheese curds (see Image 1).
Type: 1. Origin — Originally, in French, poutine referred to any kind of pudding-like dish (see OED-3, s.v. "poutine"). Poutine, both the the term and the dish of fries, cheese and gravy, came from Quebec to English Canada fairly recently. According to the OED-3 "The dish is said to have been first sold in the ‘Lutin Qui Rit’ restaurant in Warwick, Quebec, in 1957, although the version with gravy was not sold until 1964, and documentary evidence is not found until later. The restaurant's owner, Fernand Lachance (1918–2004), is generally credited with naming the dish". Other places in Quebec also claim the honour. Having crossed the country from Quebec, poutine is now seen as a national fast food (see the 2007 quotation).
Chart 1 shows that the term, despite gaining international currency, is still most frequent in Canada. Chart 2 shows that it is used in all provinces in mainland Canada, with Newfoundland and the Territories showing insufficient internet data; this does not mean, however, that the dish is not offered in these regions (see, e.g. the 2007 quotation from Newfoundland and the 2016 quotation from the Yukon) only that the phrase the poutine, used to rule out noise, is less common in these domains.
Its name might be inspired by the traditional Acadian dish "poutine râpée" (English "poutine rape", see the 1956 quotation), a dumpling dish of potatoes and meat, yet there is no further evidence other than the similarity of the name and the general francophone connection (see the 1981 quotation). In Canadian English, poutine refers only to the dish of french fries with gravy and cheese curds. According to Boberg (2012: 497), the term was originally adopted into Quebec French as a borrowing of the English word "pudding".
See also COD-2, s.v. "poutine", and Gage-5, s.v. "poutine", which are marked "Cdn.", and OED-3, s.v. "poutine", which is marked "Canad.", AHD-5, s.v. "poutine", which is described as "a dish of Québécois origin".
See also: chip wagon Nanaimo bar mechoui (meaning 2) Montreal bagel Montreal smoked meat
- 1956  ["Quebec maple syrup pie," she goes on, "poutines rapees, Newfoundland seal flipper pie, etc."]
- 1981  [When your feet give out you can hop a passing cariolle, pulled by horses or oxen, and when lunch time rolls around, sample traditional Acadian dishes such as chicken fricot (stew) or poutine rape (a ball of grated cooked potatoes wrapped around a core of meat and gravy).]
- 1982  Although nutritionists may shudder at its starch, fat and salt content, a new fast-food snack is gaining on hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza in Quebec snack bars. It's called poutine and it combines french fried potatoes with curds of cheese and hot barbecue sauce. The recipe is simple. It starts with freshly-made french fries ladled steaming hot into a large paper cup. Then a generous spoonful of cheese curds is added and finally a lashing of the hot barbecue sauce. If correctly made, the heat of the potatoes and sauce causes the cheese to melt and form sticky tendrils around each french fry. Poutine, which has been popular for at least five years in southeastern Quebec, is responsible for almost doubling sales of fresh curd over the past two years, says Robert Briscoe, president of Les Fromages Gemme, a Marieville cheese company. Recently, as much as 50 per cent of Briscoe's curd production has been sold to small snack bars and roadside stands to make into poutine. Two types of poutine can be found in Quebec - regular and Italian-style, made with spaghetti sauce.
- 1982  A poutine is a plate of french fries and cheese curds covered with gravy. Or spaghetti sauce. Modern folk food. You wouldn't find it on the menu in restaurants that peddle tortieres and maple sugar pies to tourists.
- 1993  Some of their culinary tastes, such as poutine, a concoction of french fries and cheese topped by gravy - something calorie counters would avoid - are simply unheard of anywhere else in Canada.
- 2000  I agree with Lysiane Gagnon's statement that poutine was never part of French-Canadian cuisine. Having lived most of my life in Quebec, I can attest to the fact that, although my mother was French, the word poutine never entered our lexicon. In fact, I have yet to lay eyes on a dish of poutine!
- 2007  Voted No. 1 on CBC's The Greatest Canadian Invention was insulin. No. 2 was the telephone followed by the light bulb and bowling. No. 5 was the Wonderbra, ahead of the Pacemaker, Robertson screw, zipper, electric wheelchair and Poutine.
- 2010  There's a weird Sorcerer's Apprentice quality to infrastructure work in Quebec: the more you do, the more there is that needs to be done. Stranger still, right in the middle of the best time to do it - midsummer - we stop doing it. I'm talking about the construction holiday, of course.
It might be considered just another quaint anachronism that helps define the distinct society - like Celine Dion or poutine.
- 2016  À La Carte
Fish & Chips - $10, Poutine - $7.50, Fries - $5.25, Gravy - $2.50
2 v. — Food
to turn a regular order of fries into poutine (see meaning 1).
Type: 1. Origin — Evidence from Canadian publications suggests that the recent conversion from noun (meaning 1) into verb (meaning 2) is increasingly popular.
- 2006  The lobster comes with fries, and despite my dislike of nouns used as verbs, I can't resist the sign that suggests you poutine your hand-cut fries $1.75 [sic]. So I have mine poutined with the requisite and rich cheese curds and gravy.
- 2013  Quietly staking its Granville Street claim for number one drunk food is Fritz European Fry House. Pizza still reigns supreme in the midnight hours, but Fritz's fries -- poutined, popped or dipped -- are the late-night snack with class. Nineteen pillowy dips, from garlic mayo to mango chutney, catch the fries as they drunkenly spill from their crackly paper cone.
- 2014  I think they would be good poutine fries. I know they’re supposed to be softer when they’re poutined, but these would keep it from being mushy. It would give it a lot of texture too.
- 2014  There aren't a lot of options, as the restaurant focuses mostly on soups and sandwiches. I opted for the bacon cheeseburger platter ($10.49). I also decided to poutine my fries, for $1.95.
3 adj. — Food, in compounds, e.g. poutined fries
fries or other foods with added cheese curds and gravy.
Type: 1. Origin — As a further development from meaning 2, the term has recently also been used adjectivally, which is a direct consequence of meaning 2 via the past participle, a process that has been operative in Germanic languages for many centuries.
- 2012  I went with the Philly Steak Platter with poutined fries and everything about this meal was melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
- 2012  *The only thing that really bothers me about this place is if you asked for poutined fries, they'll put (lets pretend you ordered) a grill cheese on the plate all lonely-like, and then on a SEPERATE [sic] plate a huge stack of heavenly poutine. Why not just conserve valuable table space, dishes and trips from the kitchen and put it alll on the SAME PLATE!?
That's really all only problem I can think of, and it isn't even that big of a deal.
- 2015  Smoky Jack Burger with poutined fries (Candice B, Jul 2015)
A Birthday Lunch To Remember