My hottest and most controversial take
By Craig Allan, Staff Writer
Occasionally when I am online, I’ll come across a thread where people are asking any version of the same question: “What is your hottest take?” My take is one that I’ve had for many years and every time I bring it up, I have to justify my view on it. When hearing it, people have called me many names like “wrong” and “American.” Substituting cheese for gravy is still poutine—and, in fact, is better!
Let me explain my thoughts around this. I am not a fan of gravy. I just don’t like it. I feel it is either too thick and tastes bad, or it’s too runny and makes the food soggy. However, I like the concept of poutine. Fries with cheese curds on it sounds delicious, but still, I don’t like gravy. I’ve tried it without gravy and for that I have been ridiculed. I remember once ordering it this way at the Spud Shack in New Westminster Station. When the server gave it to me, he said “why are you getting it without gravy—is it an allergy thing?” I wanted to tell him that it was a “none of your fucking business” thing, but I restrained myself and just told him “no.” Poutine without the gravy isn’t really poutine though. It’s just fries with some cheese balls around it. That’s when I had the idea of cheese sauce instead of gravy.
The cheese sauce is the same kind you would find on nachos at a movie theatre, but a little less thick. I put it on fries—and it is sooo much better. It’s two kinds of cheesy goodness on fries. The fries do have the potential to get soggy, but not as soggy as if they were covered in gravy.
Though I have loved this wonderfully cheesy combo, it has sparked no less than indignation amongst foodies and regular eaters alike. I have never been able to turn anyone on this point. Some have conceded that while it is not a traditional poutine, it could still classify as a poutine. But there are others that have steadfastly disagreed with my point. They are adamant that poutine is fries, cheese curds, and gravy. I defend this by saying that a burger with a chicken patty is still a burger, a salad with olive oil over ranch dressing is still a salad, so why can’t poutine with cheese sauce instead of gravy still be poutine?
I have become resigned to the idea that my view of poutine will likely never be accepted by the public, but I will still defend it. After all, there has never been a person who has said that something had too much cheese on it. Next time order poutine, ask for cheese sauce instead of gravy—you’ll thank me for taking you on the wonderfully cheesy journey that is the best version of poutine.