Poutine is the classic Quebec junk food. It is made from French fries [frites], fresh cheese curds [fromage en grains] and gravy [sauce]. It is a high-fat, high-salt, high-calorie fast food snack. Some people think it is disgusting, but millions of Quebeckers (and visitors love it. There are different kinds with different sauces and meats, and you can get it in almost any small, independent fast-food restaurant in the city.
Poutine is everywhere in Quebec, and it is spreading to other parts of Canada, but it doesn’t have a long history. There are many stories about who invented it, but one of the most popular is that is first made in 1957 in the small town of Warwick, northeast of Montreal.
A good poutine must have freshly made French fries that are hot and not too oily, and gravy that has a good flavour. The most important ingredient is the cheese curds. Cheese curds are freshly made white cheddar cheese grains. It is very important that they are made the same day. You can usually buy today’s cheese curds in supermarkets, but they are not refrigerated. You can tell if they are fresh by the “squeak” when you bite them. If they are too old, they don’t “squeak” on your teeth.