Yes, I know it’s still June, and we’re highlighting lavender this month. But it’s also Canada Day this Sunday and Fourth of July shortly after, and so I wanted to squeeze this post in before it’s too late. :)
I have very fond childhood memories of getting fries and gravy with my friends at the corner store across the street from my elementary school in Toronto. I remember that warm, thick, salty gravy covering those starchy fries. I have to say, it completely befuddles me why fries with gravy is not more popular this side (that would be south) of the border. A quick little search reveals it to be common in pockets around the country, like upstate New York and Baltimore. But for the most part it seems to be a foreign (and often unappealing) concept to many folks here, who, quite frankly, are missing out.
Disbelievers might point out that the gravy will turn the fries soggy at some point. This is true, but it’s the same idea as chili or melted cheese over fries. And I have to say I actually quite enjoy that gradual progression of gravy melding into the fries because it is good every step of the way. You start with the integrity of both crispy fries and hot gravy, and as you slowly work your way through the pile, the fries start getting soaked in gravy goodness, and finally, you end with your fingers covered in both potato and gravy, and that, my friends, may just be the best part of all.
Of course, fries and gravy are best known in the classic French-Canadian dish poutine, in which fresh, squeaky cheese curds are also an essential ingredient. In the United States, a version known as Disco fries with melted mozzarella is apparently served in New Jersey diners (I know it’s terribly un-Canadian, but I may just prefer the gooey melted cheese version of poutine over the cheese curds). Related are the gravy cheese fries served in some American diners.
Whichever you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful Canada or Independence Day!