Monday, October 25, 2010

Geese and Poutine

I've been strong
I've been angry
I've repented
I've shed puddles of tears
I've had enough

I want to fly
Like the geese
In a gaggle
To new lands
Far flung and distant
Over corn fields
Under blue skies

To warmth
To forgiveness
To love
To happy
To healthy

Earlier this week,
after hearing about the geese I saw that made me cry,
my mom sent me this poem.
It's brilliant.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

from Dream Work by Mary Oliver
published by Atlantic Monthly Press
© Mary Oliver


So, as the story goes, this trucker walks into a restaurant and asks the owner to mix French fries and cheese curds together in the same bag. The year was 1957 and the restaurant owner was Fernand Lachance. The location: the dairy town of Warwick, Quebec, Canada.

"Ça va te faire une maudite poutine," ("It's gonna make a hell of a mess"), replies Lachance. But he complies, and the first Poutine is served. “La sauce” (rich, brown gravy) was later added to the dish to keep the food hot.

Several Quebecois communities lay claim to the origin of poutine, including Drummondville, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, and Victoriaville, but the most popular story is the Lachance story.

Poutine has been described as a cholesterol highball, a fatty delight and a fast food icon.

But Charles-Alexandre Théorêt, author of Maudite Poutine!, describes the dish to Montreal's The Gazette as being more psychological in nature:

A generous portion of shame
fried gently in an inferiority complex
and topped with a hint of denigration
from the ROC (Rest of Canada) –
and a touch of guilty pleasure.

"Love it or hate it, poutine has become a strong symbol of Quebec," says Théorêt.

In his book, Théorêt insists that the real poutine is properly made with cheese curds softened - not melted - by the warm gravy and fresh enough to squeak when bitten, due to their high humidity.

Poutine even made it on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) list of the 10 greatest Canadian inventions, beating out basketball, the Canadarm, and the music synthesizer, and finding its place between the electric wheelchair and the cobalt 60 “bomb” cancer treatment. It even placed ahead of the snowblower in the list of Canadian inventions.

After 53 years, Poutine is finally gaining respect beyond the borders of Quebec. .The New York Times referred to Poutine as “a staple from Quebec, embarrassing but adored.”

Have you ever made Poutine? I have yet to do that!

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    Anonymous said...

    Your poems brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful and heart-rendering. About geese...did you know when the do their long migration, if one falls ill and has to leave the formation and land, two other geese will go with it and stay with the sick one until it is able to fly again.

    Holly Bruns said...

    The poems! Lovely.

    Unknown said...

    Is that French Fries with Cheese Curds and Gravy?! I love cheese curds and gravy and fries. Fatty but oh so delicious! yum

    Angela said...

    Great post. Love the poem and now I"m just dying to try poutine. Never had it.

    Anonymous said...

    Poutine is awesome, they serve a pretty good version at Harvest in Cambridge for Boston residents :)

    lisa is cooking said...

    I've never made poutine or even eaten it! I'm so curious about it though. One of these days, I have to try it.