The origin of the name poutine is uncertain, but one supposed origin ties it to a definition stating that a poutine is  an “unappetizing mixture of various foods, usually leftovers.” Another origin states that, when a restaurant regular asked for curds on his fries, the owner replied “ça va te faire une maudite poutine!” (that will make a damned mess!)

There are many foods that define Canada, though few are as well known and iconic as the poutine. Depicted here in a traditional format of fries, topped with cheese curds and smothered in gravy, Robert Turner of ParLUGment has done a delicious job bringing this dish to life in LEGO bricks.

Perhaps fitting for a food item with such great popularity in Canadian cuisine, there are a host of people and origins for the creation as well. Though claims come from many sources throughout the mid 20th century, they all share this in common: the dish is definitely native to Quebec’s cheese producing regions, with claims through the late 1950s and early 1960s from Drummondville, Warwick, and Princeville.

Drawing even more controversy are further questions, such as whether poutine is a national meal or one belonging to Quebec alone. As well, there are questions about what makes a poutine a poutine, and when does a poutine recipe go too far? The traditional recipe uses a lighter brown gravy, made from beef, chicken, veal, or turkey – but newer recipes include pulled pork, buttered chicken, or vegan poutine made with neither cheese nor gravy.

Even the word poutine itself is of a murky origin. Though it has been well established in its current form as representative of a meal of fries, cheese curds, and gravy, the word has origins dating back as far as 1810, with a variety of usages and guesses at etymology.

Yet despite all of this, the meal continues to be consumed by Canucks from coast to coast. Poutine continues to infiltrate menus at Canadian restaurants, from 5 star steakhouses to McDonald’s, uniting Canadians together in caloric harmony.

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