Sunday, July 26, 2009

When bad foods veer scarily off course

About a month ago, I saw a review in the NY Times for a new restaurant that specializes in a variety of french fries served in Quebec. It's called Poutine. It is basically described as french fries covered with fresh cheese curds and brown gravy. I'm really not making this up. Truth be told, I'm not sure what is more disturbing: 1) that this concoction exists in nature, 2) there is a large population of people in Canada who swear by it, or 3) that it looks strangely alluring.

Poutine also begs the question: weren't the fries already bad enough? Must we take our indulgences to the outer limits? Seemingly, the answer is yes.

It's not just the Canadians who ply this evil trade. The Belgians are known to serve their frites with mayonnaise. And what about the Americans: cheese fries!!! With Chili!!!

True confession time: I am not a stranger to cheese fries. When I lived in Chicago, I hit this little item more than a few times. Yet another reason for my enlargement during the 90's.

Now I intuitively know better, but I must admit to being curious how bad the actual carnage of cheese fries is. The answer can be found in the web sites of a few big restaurant chains. Denny's sells a skillet of cheese fries for the bargain POINTS price of 20. However, they are not the big winner. That honor goes to Dairy Queen which sells a cheese fries with chili basket for 30 POINTS. Yikes. That's one side of food for more POINTS than most people have for a full day. I can reasonably assume the Poutine would not fair much better.

By the way, this is not the scariest thing on the DQ menu board. That honor goes to a six piece chicken tender basket which clocks in at 39 POINTS. Impressive!!!!

So what's the point? No point really. I think I can safely state that there is not a person on Earth who thinks that cheese fries are super-nutritious and heart healthy. Frankly, the chicken basket is more of a shock, particularly for the uninformed. There was a time when I might have thought this was good for me (or at least not bad). In this case, knowledge is power.

BTW, I recently posed the question as to whether a renovated cheese fry dish was an actual possibility. The answer? Yes. Baked sweet potato fries with low fat cheese melted on top. This can be done for 5 POINTS. May not have the same decadence quotient, but it works nicely!


  1. Low POINT poutine is always a topic on the message board.

    Many bake fries, add low point gravy and low fat cheese for a similar dish.

    But nothing beats real cheese curd on fries.

  2. "No food is off limits."

    - Possibly the greatest phrase ever spoken at a Weight Watchers meeting.

    ;-) Poutine comes close, but we can't start labelling anything as "bad" food, because that of course, makes them more desirable.

    Which is BAD NEWS for anyone with disordered eating.

    I have no point, except to say that I hope you're not starting down the path of labelling "bad foods". If you want poutine, eat poutine. It is as simple as that. You may pay for it in Points, but live and learn.

    All the best,

  3. As a Canadian, Poutine is part of my eating habit. And yes David, it is that good. But for the past 3 years, I have cut down on the amount a eat. So now, I have 1 poutine every quarter.

    It gives me great pleasure to look forward to it.

    Anyone figured out the points for a small poutine yet? My next slurge is coming up soon, so I would be very greatful to anyone who post that info.
    WW member

  4. A "bébé" poutine at Ashton's in Québec city is 19 points! Enjoy! I do, once in a while!

    Dominique, 27 pounds lighter since last December, eating Poutine every other month!