Is it time we voted poutine in as the official national food of Canada? As a purveyor of the most popular poutine in the Kingston area, Bubba’s Poutine and Pizzeria (http://www.bubbaspizzeria.com) would support that campaign.

Times have certainly changed for Quebec-style poutine on the ladder of culinary acceptance. Historically poutine was held in low esteem even by French Canadians. In 1991, for example, then-premier Robert Bourassa and Parti-Quebecois leader Jacques Pariseau both refused to answer when a CBC reporter asked them if they liked poutine. Now national restaurant chains in Canada including New York Fries, KFC, A&W, Burger King and McDonald’s have all featured poutine on their fast food menus. It’s a fact not lost on Bubba’s, where the poutine voted #1 in Kingston is served up fresh and hot daily. Bubba’s created its own custom beef gravy recipe when poutine first appeared on the menu in 1988, and it has become a cherished local institution for poutine lovers, especially to students at Queen’s University.

Like every popular fast food, you’ll find no exact standards for what constitutes “authentic” Quebec-style poutine. Recipes are as numbered as the claims made by those who supposedly invented the dish. However, there are certain ingredients that have to be included for a food to be considered a true “poutine.” Besides the obvious inclusion of potato fries, cheese curd and not just cheese is the critical component. These curds usually come in hunks with a briny taste not unlike that of cottage cheese. Where the conflict arises is in the style of “sauce” or “gravy” your poutine is served with.  Some believe the classic poutine sauce to actually be a chicken-based velouté(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velout%C3%A9_sauce).  Many Quebecers prefer an instant brand of poutine sauce made by the St. Hubert chain and sold commercially in stores. Others prefer more traditional “gravy” that combines beef and chicken stock, a hint of pepper and a sour flavouring like vinegar to balance the richness of the curds.

Ultimately, the sauce has to be thin enough to filter down and a little bit thicker than chocolate fondue. When combined with the curds and fries you get the delicious blend of tastes like so lovingly created by the poutine masters at Bubba’s. For takeout or delivery call 613-549-5425.