PhotoHunter: Hanging

The theme this week is “Hanging” (Next week’s is “Public”… did anyone spot that? Was the choice deliberate?)…

A few years ago, September 2008, we had gone for a drive and ended up in Richmond, Ontario. They were either getting ready for or were finished with the Richmond Fair. The town was done up in style and beside the chip stand (French fries, Poutine*, and other delicacies) I saw this….

Hanging squashes, Richmond

Hanging squashes, Richmond

"Biggest Pumpkin" float, Richmond

*Poutine, for the uninitiated is is Canada’s favourite heart-attack on a plate. But who can resist? What a way to go…

Basically, French fries topped with cheese curds, and gravy. No cheese curds? You COULD substitute white cheddar cheese but is just is not the same. You can’t skimp on the curds or the gravy and “industrial gravy” must be used with caution. The worst Poutine I have eaten was at the Canadian Museum of Civilization (which has the worst food, anyway). The best? So far, my favourite is at The Dairy Barn chip and ice cream stand in Kemptville.

Some would say the best are in Montreal. I haven’t eaten them in Montreal but since Quebec is the birthplace of Poutine… why not?

The actual origin of Poutine will be argued about for centuries to come but legends abound. My friend Lefty McRighty sings of the Great Poutine War of 1955 and who am I to debate the historical accuracy of his account? The CBC wades into the debate, on Q (podcast, about 2/3s of the way through). And it is pronounced “Poutin”, not “pooteen”, no matter how many “experts” mispronounce it. Marion Kane, Food Sleuth, interviewed on Q lays it out for you on her website.

I actually thought I invented it in 1970 and was surprised to learn that I wasn’t the only person to like cheese curds and gravy on fries…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Poutine
For those interested, there are many “different” recipes which diverge from the gravy/cheese curds basics and include vegetarian, “healthy” alternatives (why bother????), and “international’ versions. As far as I am concerned, they aren’t Poutine and don’t qualify as Poutine “variations”.And, for a while, McDonald’s offered a “poutine” on their Quebec menus which consisted of McD French fries, curds and gravy but Poutine requires home-cut fries and those need to be thick, not the thin McD-style fries. They need to be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and that calls for the traditional chipwagon-style of fry.

via Jerome's blog

To make Poutine you need:

  • potatoes
  • white cheddar cheese curds – if you don’t know what cheese curds are, you can try a roughly chopped mild white cheddar. Or you can make your own. The idea is to get chunks that melt but still stay sort of firm. DO NOT SHRED THE CHEESE!
  • gravy – preferably a home-style gravy and not an “industrial” gravy (the kind bought in huge cans or sold in powder form). Some people prefer a spiced gravy like those from St. Hubert chicken  restaurants (blecccckkkk!). I personally prefer a hearty chicken gravy.

The potatoes are thickly cut and let stand in ice water for about 10 minutes (other “purists” say let them stand in the air until they oxidize). The chips are fried  at a low temp until translucent, drained and allowed to cool, then re-fried at a higher temp until crisp.

Drain the fries, sprinkle the curds over the top (or you can distribute them throughout the fries, that way they aren’t all on the top. Pour on the hot gravy, enough to get right to the bottom of the fries…. enjoy.

Sprinkle with pepper, if you find you like it a little spicier.

And… NO… “Cheese fries” and “chili cheese fries”, while probably delicious in their own way, just are not the same.

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21 Comments

  1. Michelle said,

    July 25, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Wow! The hanging squashes sure are eye-catching!! Thanks for sharing and for your kind words about my own pic! 🙂

  2. July 25, 2010 at 9:20 am

    I love poutine — there’s a Canadian restaurant here in Phnom Penh that makes them. It is not for the health conscious, indeed, but it is nice to have something apart from the drab fries 🙂
    Nice shots.

  3. July 25, 2010 at 1:53 am

    Wow, great shots 🙂

  4. July 25, 2010 at 12:57 am

    I’ve never seen hanging squashes before – they look just like over-size cucumbers! Your poutine has truly taken my fancy. My gallbladder was forcibly removed from me last week and I’m looking forward to being able to eat things like that again. I hope. 🙂

    • mudhooks said,

      July 25, 2010 at 2:40 am

      Take your time recovering from your gallbladder op. It took me a long time to be able to tolerate any fatty or oily foods, period, for a few years. Even cheese was problematic. And Poutine certainly qualifies as “fatty” or “greasy”.There are many “different” recipes which diverge from the gravy/cheese curds basics and include vegetarian, “healthy” alternatives (why bother????), and “international’ versions. As far as I am concerned, they aren’t Poutine and don’t qualify as Poutine “variations”.

      And, for a while, McDonald’s offered a “poutine” on their Quebec menus which consisted of McD French fries, curds and gravy but Poutine requires home-cut fries and those need to be thick, not the thin McD-style fries. They need to be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and that calls for the traditional chipwagon-style of fry.

      According to what I have read, they are fried at a low temp until translucent, drained and allowed to cool and then re-fried at a higher temp until crisp.

  5. mariposa said,

    July 24, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Beautiful!!


    Mariposa’s PH!

  6. Manang Kim said,

    July 24, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Here in my place they call it snake gourd but back in my native country we call it white squash or ‘UPO’. Love your photos!

    PhotoHunt~Hanging

    • mudhooks said,

      July 25, 2010 at 2:29 am

      These are probably Zucchini or, as they call them in the UK, courgettes. They get really HUGE if they grow flat and are rather ubiquitous, here. One doesn’t see them hanging, as a rule but there are contests for the larges and/or longest at the summer fairs, here.

  7. upto6only said,

    July 24, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    wow those were long 🙂 great shot

  8. July 24, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    just lovely for hanging! Couldn’t get the video to load

  9. July 24, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    just lovely for hanging!

  10. July 24, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    I love your hanging squashes. But I will pass on the poutine. French fries are possibly my favorite food in the whole world and putting anything on a perfect french fry other than salt and pepper is gilding the lily as far as I am concerned.

    I have a hanging cucurbit myself this week.
    http://healingmagichands.wordpress.com/2010/07/24/photohunt-hanging/

  11. July 24, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Great photos. As for poutine, I have never tried it but it sounds like the food of the Gods!

  12. ian said,

    July 24, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    whoa. interesting hangers-on you got there =] they look good, but i’m quite sure they taste even better =]

  13. Lesley said,

    July 24, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Wow, those squash don’t have much room to grow any longer!

  14. luna miranda said,

    July 24, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    those are gorgeous flowers, so vibrant!

  15. Sassy Mom said,

    July 24, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Those are really huge! Great take.

    Here’s my hanging entry.

  16. July 24, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Unbelievable how big those squashes are! I had no idea they could be so large! And that pumpkin is rather ginormous too! And poutine sounds different and interesting, but I’m not sure how I’d like it!

  17. azahar said,

    July 24, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Those are lovely hanging squashes!

    I’ve never had poutine. Sounds fabulous.

    Btw, changed my “hanging” pic since you were there…

  18. mudhooks said,

    July 24, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Stupid video keeps crapping out…

  19. magiceye said,

    July 24, 2010 at 10:21 am

    yummy post has me hanging!!


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