After ordering, I leaned back and looked around the Canadian café. It looked like the hundreds of American cafés my husband and I had visited through the years. A bell on the door jingled whenever someone came in. The pages of a local calendar on a nearby community board fluttered in the hot breeze coming from the sweltering street.
Arnie, the couple we were traveling with and I had ordered hamburgers and French fries.
Thelma and Gene had arrived at four this morning at our house to get an early start. We put off stopping for breakfast, opting for an early lunch instead. As the men began to talk about fishing, Thelma leaned forward and said, “It’s a good thing I put a big bag of ice in the cooler. As hot as it is today, the food we’re bringing would spoil before we reached the cabin.”
I nodded and hopefully suggested, “Maybe we can put everything in the cabin’s refrigerator while Arnie and Gene put the boats in the water. Then we can cool off by going out to fish this evening.”
Seeing our waitress step up to the kitchen transom where plates were waiting, I announced, “Here comes our food.” A few moments later I woefully stared down at the plate placed before me. All the lovely French fries next to the hamburger were wilting under a thick brown gravy.
In the late 1950’s, a province in Canada developed poutine, a dish of French fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy. Looking back, I don’t recall there being cheese curds. All I remember was soggy fries. Although I had been looking forward to crispy ones, I ate them anyway. Continue reading