Jean Burger in Wakefield, Quebec fire hits patrons in the guts


by admin on November 25, 2010

By Martti Lahtinen

The comprehensive front-page Low Down picture caught the moment: a tearful, distraught woman, clad in firefighting gear with her back turned to a building still billowing clouds of smoke, resigned to having lost the battle to save the business she owns.

The volunteer firefighter is Nancy Gagne, and she and her family operate Jean Burger, a   restaurant on Hwy 105 just south of Wakefield, Quebec that has been a Gatineau Hills landmark for years. The Nov. 13 fire, which started in the kitchen, quickly spread and scorched the interior badly. The family intends to rebuild.

That’s good news for patrons who have been hit where it hurts: in the guts. Area fast-food lovers face a temporary setback to lunch-counter the expansive assault by national anti-obesity movements that justify the food fight by claiming the greater good has to be served. Eat better, live longer and don’t overload the health-care system. You know the drill. Well, shove that rap.

Those who are hooked on fast foods to varying de-grease – who among us can forget tucking into a slice of white bread, flipped one side, then the other, in a pan to soak up the leftover bacon makins’ – are forced to modify their search to curb their predisposition for the so-called unhealthy scoff at roadside chip wagons.

Some fast-food addicts have turned to poutine as the sin-gestives of choice, and notable, award-winning Trans-Fat Canada Trail outlets such as Jean Burger have filled the bill. Poutine, which has its origins in Quebec, has been called a heart attack in a bowl, but there’s no way it beats a slice of white bread oozing bacon grease in a yukky chow-down. Fried baloney also makes the playoffs.

But I digress. Those of us who frequent Jean Burger for bacon-cheeseburgers with toasted buns, the fries and fresh coffee (even when preferred customers arrive five minutes to closing, thank you ladies!) treat the diner with respect.

For example, none of my ilk says “Burger” as in “hamburger” when referring to the eatery. We pronounce it “Boor-zhay,” as in Henri Burger, to upgrade the mindset to recollections of the Cordon bleu restaurant housed in a Hull heritage building some years ago. Lift your pinkie when you say it: “Chez Jean Boor-zhay.”

Meanwhile, it’s not as if the daily fare at a roadside grub stop such as Jean Burger is a one-way ticket to the ER. Junk-food junkies can control their addictions by zippering their pieholes and getting their tubby arses into exercise programs if physical work fails to keep body size and weight within tolerable levels. The admonition won’t appear on any menu; it’s simply a matter of a good choice: Eat less, do more.

Yes, the Jean Burger fire has put a temporary lid on their casseaux de poutine, but let’s lighten up. One might get a lot of smileage from this fabricated slice of baloney about Canadian officials getting serious about the wide-spread, over-the-counter sales of EPO in the province of Quebec, given that it’s on the International Olympic Committee list of banned substances. What’s EPO, you ask. It’s erythro-poutine – a human-growth hormone – and its sure to rekindle Jean Burger operations and get Ms. Gagne’s staff smiling again.