Speed Reads

Now You Know

Hey, America, you're pronouncing 'poutine' wrong


Some of the trendier precincts of the U.S. have discovered the French-Canadian dish poutine, an unsurprisingly delicious combination of thick-cut french fries (for argument's sake, let's call them Belgian-style), gravy, and melted cheese curds, plus whatever else you want to throw on top. Good. But please stop pronouncing it "pu-teen." Even if you say it with a vaguely French accent, it's still wrong.

In fact, they will laugh at you in Montreal if you say it this way (I know this from personal experience), because it sounds like you are mispronouncing "prostitute" — putain (pu-tahn) — and because it is always fun to laugh at tourists. So how do you pronounce poutine correctly? Like this — sort of like how Americans say the last name of Russia's president. Or, watch this guy: He looks bored, but that's probably because he's sick of correcting helpful waiters. --Peter Weber