So I’m looking for dinner in Ottawa last night and find a pub that offers food. Famished, I order a pint and a burger, and ask for the burger to be cooked rare. (I like my beef rare, ordering it “saignant,” or “bloody,” when I’m in France.) The waiter looks at me resolutely and says, “Sorry, sir, we can’t cook it that way. According to Ontario standards, it has to be cooked between medium and medium-well.”
MEDIUM WELL! What barbarism, but that’s the way I had to have my burger: overcooked and dry.
What are these “Ontario standards”? I asked the waiter whether if I crossed the bridge to Quebec (just on the other side of the river), I could get a rare burger. “Yes, of course,” she replied. Of course, because the French (the ancestors of Québécois) are not barbarians about food, and know how beef should be cooked.
Given that every government document and sign in this entire country has to be printed in both French and English, you’d think that every province could adopt the same government standards for cooking burgers. Canadians, what gives?
The only good burger—or steak for that matter—is one that’s cooked rare, though medium rare will suffice in a pinch.
This is NOT how it should be done:
This afternoon, after the meetings are over, a few of us, guided by the estimable Larry Moran, are going in search of the best poutine in the area. If you don’t know what that comestible is, look it up. And when I post about it upon my return to Chicago, I don’t want any of you telling me how unhealthy it is. That’s true, but this will be only my second taste of the stuff in my lifetime. Other participants will include Carl Zimmer and Rosie Redfield.