Well, I don't know if you can exactly call poutine a delicacy, however I would say it is definitely important to the people of Montreal. Before I entered the world of fries, cheese and gravy, there was a significant amount of pressure. People would sport a face mixed with shock, confusion and a little bit of pain, whenever I explained I had never eaten a poutine. While I can appreciate poutine for what it is, I do wish I had known a few things before diving into my first forkful.
1. The Difference Between Drunk And Sober Poutine
I'm not saying poutine is necessarily better when you're drunk, but it's certainly different. When you're intoxicated, you don't really notice all the grease on your plate or how bloated you're becoming with every bite. The problem is you're too distracted to really enjoy all the flavour. It's a trade off you're going to have to decide for yourself.
2. Not Everything Should Be Poutine-ified
Let's say you're completely blown away by your first poutine. You think it's so genius you're prepared to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the rest of your life. Forever. Slow down there, cowboy. Poutine is a great canvas to experiment with different flavours and mediums. But with that knowledge, not everything needs to be the subject of poutineification. "Poutine bagel?" No. "Poutine spaghetti?" Nope. "Poutine filet mignon?" Please stop.
Photo cred - cheesechoker
3. The Time Window
Okay, you must listen very carefully. Poutine needs to be eaten within the limits of "The Poutine Time Window". From the moment of immaculate conception, you have somewhere between ten and twenty minutes before the sogginess seeps in. To enjoy a perfect poutine, the ingredients must work separately to work together, and if you wait too long, the gravy will surely take over. I've created a diagram to illustrate this problem. Follow with extreme caution.
Photo cred - troilsentwins
4. It Is Not A Side Dish
Please do not compromise the integrity of the poutine by confusing it with a side of fries. It is a meal. A full fledged, god-fearing meal. You're wasting good ingredients if you promote this blunder.
5. Poutine Is Best When Shared
The best way to adhere to "The Poutine Time Window" is to participate with a friend. You're never going to happily enjoy a large poutine to yourself, so you might as well split it.
6. Choose A Restaurant You Trust
Loosing your poutine virginity shouldn't be commenced in a haphazard manner. Choose a restaurant you trust. Preferably, if you like their fries or they're in the four-five star range on Yelp, you should be good. A bad first time can ruin poutine forever.
7. Ratio Is Everything
If you're going to double up on something, get a larger poutine. Don't add extra cheese curds, gravy, etc. It's either all or none. Too much of one thing will spoil the delicate balance.
8. Fancy Is Not Better
While a fancy poutine is a fun novelty, it should never be confused with the real deal. It's the poor mans food. Gourmet poutine? Don't kid yourself.
Photo cred - Mercedeslumalang
9. Homemade Is Never As Good
Why? I don't know.
10. Tune Out Poutine Lovers
At the end of the day, if you don't like poutine, you don't like it. Don't let people make you feel bad about it. Montrealers can get intense about their food, but it's all in good fun. All it is, is fries, gravy and curds, don't stress and enjoy.