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Confusion Between Canadian Dish and Russian President

As the Russian invasion into Ukraine drags onward, international approval ratings of Russian president Vladimir Putin have been, pardon the term, tanking. But for a certain subset of Canadians, the anti-Putin sentiment adds unacceptable insult to Ukrainian injury. And like other more serious international incidents, people are somehow blaming the French.

That’s because the French spelling of the Russian president’s name is “Poutine,” which is also the name of a French-Canadian diner staple: fried potatoes topped with gravy and cheese curds. This is why French restaurant Maison de la Poutine was subject to rude, harassing, and insulting phone calls throughout February and March. This is because people read the name of its signature dish – often called the national dish of Canada – and misinterpreted it as support for the Russian leader.

On its Twitter account, the restaurant was forced to issue a clarification, which included the following affirmation:

Poutine was created by passionate cooks who wanted to bring joy and comfort to their customers. La Maison de la Poutine has worked since its first day to carry on these values. Today it brings its most sincere support to the Ukrainian people who are courageously fighting for their freedom against the tyrannical Russian regime.

Another popular French-Canadian restaurant Le Roy Jucep, went even further, renaming the popular dish as “la frite fromage” (literally “the cheese potato”), so as to dissuade any presumed affiliation with Putin.

Possible Preaching Angle:

Names are important because they bestow honor. When someone behaves dishonorably, we besmirch the names we are given and others see those names as disgraceful.

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