Childrearing

Somehow This Foodie Magazine For Toddlers Is Not An April Fools’ Prank

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butternutCalculus for Babies had best watch its back, because there’s a new aspirational literary product for babies, and this one is  a farm-to-table food magazine for the preschool set that will turn your toddler into a tiny little foodie who will fill you with pride over his or her sophisticated palate while simultaneously shaming you for your abiding love of Kraft Dinner and Starbucks’ flavored lattes.

When a coworker told me about Butternut, the new food magazine for children between the ages of two and six, I initially took it for an April Fools’ prank. I envisioned articles like, “Mom Broke My Toast: A moving personal essay about loss, betrayal, and that time mom cut my toast in half,” “How to Cope When Your Food Is Touching,” and “Everything Except Goldfish Crackers Is Poison.” But Butternut is a real thing, and it is currently raising funds for its inaugural run on Kickstarter.

According to The Daily Meal, Butternut will educate two-year-olds about the farm-to-table movement and is designed to promote “food literacy for young readers.”

“We believe that the two greatest skills that kids can learn today are reading literacy and food literacy,” Jill Colella, the magazine’s editor, said. “Butternut’s primary aim is to offer those in tandem. Learning how to read critically and learning how to eat competently can empower an individual to live a rich, fulfilled, happy, healthy, successful life…. A food magazine for this age group is a resource that is badly needed.”

“Eat competently”? Well, sure, that’s important. Somehow I don’t think she means they will be running articles on how to eat food without putting sweet potatoes in your ears, but I wish they would. (I would also pay dearly for a food magazine that could convince my daughter to stop holding a spoon full of pureed spinach up to her nose and then inhaling deeply so the insides of her nostrils stay green until … well, if they ever stop I will let you know.)

While the idea of promoting “food literacy” to children who have not yet mastered “literacy literacy” seems a little funny, I do like the idea of talking to kids about where food comes from. And now that I think about it, I read Ranger Rick at that age, and learning about pumpkins isn’t that much different than learning about birds. Issues will focus on specific themes, like Pumpkins, Lunch, Drinks, etc. The articles are photo-heavy, as befits a magazine for kids who can’t read yet, and everything looks pretty and visually appealing. As a Kickstarter backer, a one-year, six-issue digital subscription runs $10, and a print subscription can be had for $35.

In retrospect, most of my initial eye-rolling was due to imagining the kinds of parents I imagined buying this: You know, the parents who boast about their children’s tastes for truffle pate and won’t drive past a McDonald’s for fear of secondhand trans fats. But that’s on the parents, not the kids, and children should know about where food comes from and how it’s made. As long as we can keep from becoming food blowhards, this could make for some good reading material for little kids.

Photo: Kickstarter/ButternutMag