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Poutine (pronounced, roughly, poo-teen or poo-tsin) is a mixture of french fries with fresh cheese curds[?], covered with gravy. It originated in rural Quebec, Canada in the late 1950s and is now popular all over the country. It is a good snack in the winter if the fries and cheese are fresh and the gravy is hot enough to partly melt everything together.

A common variation, Italian poutine, substitutes spaghetti sauce for the gravy. Some restaurants boast a dozen or more poutine variants.

The exact origin of the name is unknown, but some believe that it comes from the English word "pudding", used in the slang sense of "a mess" or in the sense of "dessert."

Poutine is a fast-food staple in Quebec, and is sold by nearly all fast-food chains in the province, as well as by smaller diners. International chains like McDonalds, A&W and Burger King sell poutine in (and increasingly outside of) Quebec, but their product is scorned by many as being an inferior reproduction.

When ordering a fast-food trio or combo in Québec, you can almost always pay a small extra to get your french fries replaced by a poutine.

We've asked a Québecois to explain how Poutine is pronounced. Listen to the explanation.

In 2000, comedian Rick Mercer[?] of the CBC satire show This Hour Has 22 Minutes persuaded then-presidential candidate George W. Bush to congratulate his "good friend Jean Poutine" on his reelection as Prime Minister of Canada. The prime minister's name is Jean Chrétien. The segment aired as a "Talking To Americans[?]" sketch.

In French transliteration the Russian leader is Vladimir Poutine.

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