In the footsteps of so many tech sites showing the "unboxing" of various tech toys, I present the unbagging of Trader Joe's Poutine.
Here is the front of the package:
Note that it includes "sauce" not "gravy". This doesn't bode well. Looking at the ingredients, I'm guessing it's not gravy because it contains less than 2% beef stock. It's also got a disturbingly long list of things that I'd expect in a prepared food from somewhere other than TJ's. Oh well, I shall soldier on in the name of science, or something.
There is a description of poutine on the back:
Inside the bag, there are separate bags of cheese curds and sauce, and a whole bunch of frozen french fries, as you'd find in any Ore-Ida bag you might open. Only a few of the fries are shown here:
Preparation is pretty rudimentary -- bake the fries for 20 to 25 minutes; in the meantime, heat up the sauce and curds in water in a saucepan at a low simmer.
Once it's all done, put the fries in a bowl, top with the curds and then pour the sauce over. Microwave or broil to finish, if desired (I did neither). It looks like this:
It tastes magnifique. No, I'm lying. The first bites were really, really bad, there is no flavor at all to that sauce. I decided to add some salt and pepper (NB: I almost never add salt and pepper post-cooking, to anything). Perhaps you recall Salisbury steak from a school cafeteria (or from being poor, like I have been), the sauce had less flavor than what you'd have had on your steak. The curds did have a satisfying squeak, so at least that part was OK.
Look, the only time I've had real poutine before was when I was in Churchill, Manitoba (maybe that wasn't even "real", but at least it was Canadian). It was in a tiny little diner (considering Churchill, maybe it was a huge diner, hard to say), and I was up there to go see the polar bears:
Feel free to ask me about that sometime.
So anyway, that bowl of poutine in Manitoba was fantastic. What I just ate was not. I could do better with the aforementioned Ore-Ida fries, a jar of Heinz gravy, and some easily sourced non-frozen cheese curds.
Eh bien. C'est la vie.