Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine sparked protests around the world, with hundreds of thousands taking to the streets to condemn the war.
But anger at the Russian leader has also drawn an unlikely victim: 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 protests, so does a restaurant selling the dish.
La Maison de la Poutine, which has restaurants in Paris and Toulouse, said it 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 Putin House has worked since its earliest days to perpetuate these values and today gives its most sincere support to the Ukrainian people who are courageously fighting for their freedom against the tyrannical Russian regime.
The dispute follows the decision of a Quebec restaurant to remove the name from the menu.
Le Roy Jucep, who claims to be the birthplace of poutine in the 1950s, says he distances himself from the name, describing himself instead as “the inventor of fries-cheese-sauce”.
“Dear Customers, Tonight, the Jucep team has decided to temporarily remove the word P**tine from its brand in order to express, in its own way, its deep dismay at the situation in Ukraine”, the recently wrote the restaurant on Facebook, before shooting the post.
The dish’s name is commonly thought to come from the French-Canadian pronunciation of the English word “pudding” to describe the pasty mixture.
In English, the differences in pronunciation mean there may be little overlap with the Russian leader’s name. But Putin’s French transliteration – already tweaked to avoid confusion with swearing whore – left plenty of room for crossed threads.
“People, please stop confusing Putin with poutine”, one user tweeted. “One is a dangerous and unhealthy mix of greasy, lumpy, frozen ingredients, the other is delicious food.”