In light of the ongoing military conflict in Easter Europe, a restaurant in Quebec decided to change the name of a traditional dish — Poutine — to show their solidarity with Ukraine.
1. Traditional dish
Invented in the 1950s and known as the most famous comfort food in Quebec, the Poutine dish was invented by the restaurant Le Roy Jucep. The meal consists of a specialty of French fries and cheese curds, topped with brown gravy. The problem for the francophones in the Canadian region of Quebec is that the traditional name of the dish sounds too much like the Russian leader’s last name, Putin.
In French, the English word “Putin” is pronounced the same way as “putain”, a common swear word for the francophones. It is believed that Putin is called Poutine for diplomatic reasons, particularly on the occasion of international summit meetings and other high-profile gatherings.
I know what war is and what it means for innocent civilians. I wanted to make this little gesture to show Ukrainians we are thinking of them.Laurent Proulx, co-owner of Le Roy Jucep
2. Change of name
The owner announced the change of name in a statement on Facebook: “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 restaurant wrote in an online post on 4 March.
“I know what war is and what it means for innocent civilians. I wanted to make this little gesture to show Ukrainians we are thinking of them,” said Laurent Proulx, co-owner of Le Roy Jucep and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.
The post was quickly removed as Proulx told the media that a lot of people got angry and the restaurant even received hateful phone calls.
3. Cancelling global culture
The Russian military expansion in Ukraine had a quick impact on global culture with food and beverage names across the world suddenly having new political baggage. Boycotts of Russian products are taking hold all over the globe.
For instance, in the US, some bars are removing Russian Mule or Moscow Mule cocktails from their menus and renaming them “Kyiv Mules” or “UN Mules”. Vodka made in Russia is also suffering as a consequence of the military conflict.
Russia has also been excluded from international sports competitions and cultural events, including the Eurovision Song Contest.