BUCK 65 - REAL CANADIAN POUTINE
Richard Terfry aka Buck 65 – an absolute genius. My favourite current hip hop act, seriously, go see his show.
The beauty of the culinary world, is that it’s jam packed full of things that sound bloody awful on paper, but are in fact delicious in reality. There is no sound reason why a deep fried Mars Bar should actually taste good. A mass produced piece of confectionery, dipped in batter and hot oil? So fundamentally wrong. Yet so engrossingly good.
Canadians like the hip hop artist and broadcaster Buck 65, constantly have to defend what is regarded as one of their country’s favourite treats, in a very similar manner. It’s called poutine and while it does sound mad, it’s exceptionally comforting and rather moreish.
“It’s chips, gravy and cheese curds. It doesn’t sound very sophisticated, but when it’s done right, it’s very good. Foreigners make fun of poutine and then change their tune when they try it. Never fails. And there’s a campaign afoot right now to get it officially recognized as Canada’s national dish.”
I guess that’s what happens when you crossbreed the British with lots of French and Irish. A country obsessed with combining chips, gravy and cheese. But when stagetime looms, you won’t catch Buck chowing down on plates of this sort, or indeed anything else,
“I avoid eating at all before I go on stage – nothing five or six hours before I play. I learned that from Van Halen.” Wise words indeed from the lycra wearing Rock band. But after the shows wrap, Buck has his epicurean hot spots that he seeks out when on tour. Like his favourite NY deli and burger joint.
“I was there two weekends ago and I’m still riding the high.” And there’s a particular eatery in Shanghai, “If you’re ever there, make sure you go to a restaurant called ‘Southern Barbarian’. It will change your life.”
I neglected to ask him what establishment one should go to in his native Halifax to find the best poutine. But I guess I should learn how to make it myself first. Here’s how.
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of flour
750ml of quality beef stock
Heat a normal sized saucepan. Drop in your butter and flour and stir it all up until it’s combined. Cook it out for about five minutes to darken it up. Drop in the stock and season with some white pepper. Bring it to the boil and then quickly get it down to a simmer. Put aside.
POUTINE INGREDIENTS & METHOD:
1 kg of rooster potatoes, cleaned, peeled and cut into chips. Or get yourself a bag of frozen ones!
250g of cheese curds.
Cook up your chips in a deep fat fryer, smother in some gravy and drop in a handful of cheese curds on top of them.
Buck 65 plays The Sugar Club on November 9th
This article was originally published in The Irish Times on September 28th where I have a monthly column.