Would the children around you know how to describe a potato plant? And you ? Are you hesitating? You’re not alone, says Anna Demay, publisher of Miam, Quebec’s first youth food magazine. When she enjoys asking people about the origin of the potato, she sees question marks appear in their eyes (and the author of these lines is no exception).
However, the potato is one of the vegetables most consumed by Quebecers, according to a report by the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec published in 2019.
In this era where you can eat whatever you want at any time of the year, we feed on food without really caring about its origin, notes Anna Demay. “We are disconnected from nature. And that scares me,” admits the one who has a master’s degree in food history and who works in the wine industry.
According to her, adults and children would benefit from acquiring greater food literacy. Recognizing healthy foods, knowing how to grow fruits and vegetables, understanding the grocery store supply network, learning how to cook and knowing ways to avoid food waste are a few examples of elements encompassed by this concept that is very dear to Anna Demay.
This finding echoes a document published a few weeks ago by the Lab-school team in which Ricardo Larrivee, Pierre Lavoie and Pierre Thibault also emphasize the importance of food literacy.
“But how do we collectively ensure that we pass on all of this knowledge to our young people?” asked the mother of two children, ages 9 and 2. Her thinking led her to create Miam, a new youth magazine dedicated to food, the first issue of which appeared in April.
If the aim of the magazine is education, Anna Demay insists that it is not a school exercise book. Through games, stories, comic strips, fact sheets and recipes, she and her team of collaborators want to show young people in elementary school that food, “it’s trippy and that it can also be fascinating than Pokémon”.
In the spring issue devoted to rhubarb, we learn in particular that it is a perennial plant, that it is native to Asia and that it has medicinal properties. But over the pages, we also discover a fictional story, written by Fanny Britt and illustrated by François Simard, whose main theme is friendship and not the strawberry-rhubarb pie cooked by the two heroines. “Food is sometimes a watermark in the magazine. It exists like that in our lives, and it’s okay to talk about it like that too,” says Anna Demay.
Published four times a year, Miam will explore a specific food in each issue. “We have only one parameter: the food. It’s sick, what comes out of it. The creative process is so exciting”, says with great enthusiasm the one who, for this project, surrounded herself with various artists, including Thom, Cathon and Benoît Tardif.
With this magazine, Anna Demay hopes to pique the curiosity of children and make them want to be interested in what they eat. “We awaken them to a lot of things: sports, theater, music… For me, food is as important as all that. »