Back when we could go to restaurants without the risk of catching the plague, there was a distinct trend where upscale chefs tried to “elevate” fast food. Sure, a burger made with super high-quality ingredients is delicious. But hot dogs with truffle butter and foie gras ? Artisanal, gourmet corn dogs ? Sometimes, trying too hard to make fast food fancy ruins its appeal in the first place.
That’s the point a Quebec teen makes, very effectively, in a TikTok video reacting to a chef making what he calls homemade poutine.
In his recent video response to Seattle chef Matt Broussard’s attempt at poutine, a creamy potato dish with scallions that looks good but is absolutely not poutine in any way, shape or form, Quebec teen Hugo Vézina shakes his head in disappointment and audibly hyperventilates.
“OK, first, pourquoi tu mets des fucking oignons?” he says, expressing disbelief at the chef’s addition of onions, in a delightful Franglais. Powdered onions would be a better bet, Vézina says, because otherwise you’d have to blend them. “If you don’t blend, I will kill you,” he jokes, deadpan.
Spoiler alert: things do not improve from there.
You absolutely don’t need to speak fluent French to understand Vézina’s reaction — his body language and the non-verbal sounds he makes communicate his point with perfect clarity. Perhaps our shared indignation over incorrect poutine is what can connect the two solitudes after all.
Poutine, of course, comes with a distinct history of being misunderstood. Made right, the classic Quebec dish is simple and delicious: french fries and cheese curds, covered in brown gravy. Perfection.
But outside of its province of origin, something is often lost in translation. In places where the dish is pronounced with the harsh anglo “pou-TEEN” rather than its correct francophone pronunciation, “pou-TSIN,” it’s often overcomplicated with unnecessary ingredients, potatoes or cheese in rogue and incorrect forms, or in distressingly incorrect ratios. No one wants poutine with spaghetti on it, or a poutine doughnut. These things are not OK, and we should not tolerate them. Take it from this TikTok teen — he clearly knows what he’s talking about.
Also on HuffPost: Cleanse your mind of this faux-poutine with these Finer Things we’ve been loving through the pandemic:
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