Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine has prompted demonstrations around the world, with hundreds of thousands taking to the streets to condemn the war.
But anger towards the Russian leader has also ensnared an unlikely casualty: a French-Canadian delicacy of potato fries, cheese curds and gravy.
Poutine, the famous dish, shares its name – in French – with the maligned Russian president. And as Putin becomes the target of protest, so too has one restaurant that sells the dish.
Maison de la Poutine, with restaurants in both Paris and Toulouse, said it has received insults and threats following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Our dish was born in Quebec in the 1950s. And the stories to tell its origin are numerous. But one thing is certain: poutine was created by passionate cooks who wanted to bring joy and comfort to their customers,” the company tweeted. “The House of Poutine has worked since its first day to perpetuate these values and today brings its most sincere support to the Ukrainian people who are courageously fighting for their freedom against the tyrannical Russian regime.”
The row follows a decision by a Quebec-based diner to pull the name from the menu.
Le Roy Jucep, which claims to be the birthplace of poutine in the 1950s, said it was distancing itself from the name, instead describing itself as “the inventor of the fries-cheese-gravy”.
“Dear clients, Tonight the Jucep team decided to temporarily retire the word P**tine from its trademark in order to express, in its own way, its profound dismay over the situation in Ukraine,” the diner recently wrote on Facebook, before pulling the post.
The name of the dish is widely believed to come from the a French-Canadian pronunciation of the English word “pudding” to describe the mushy medley.
In English, differences in pronunciation mean that there can be little overlap with the Russian leader’s name. But the French transliteration of Putin – already tweaked to avoid confusion with the expletive putain – has left ample room for crossed wires.
“People, please stop confusing Putin and poutine,” tweeted one user. “One is a dangerous and unwholesome mix of greasy, lumpy and congealed ingredients, the other is a delicious food.”