An ironic observation

Results of a new study from Concordia University recently reported by The Gazette show that most Canadians still aren't eating enough fruits and vegetables every day. The study also found that the Québécois significantly eat more fresh produce than other Canadians.

I wasn't overly surprised by this finding. Having shared many business meals with Torontonians and other Canadians over the years, it always was a given for me that our culinary cultures are different. Stretching it to certain foods was never... well... a stretch. And this isn't about Pepsi and Jos Louis.

The report points at Québec's long history of farming to explain this difference. My personal take at it has more to do with background and popular culture.

Compared to other North Americans, the average Québécois has much better access to contemporary Mediterranean culture from France and other French-speaking countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Recent immigrants from Lebanon even managed to popularize a local recipe of Shish Taouk in Montréal. Call it the new bagel or smoked meat.

As for popular culture, recent years have seen a proliferation of TV programs about food on Québécois channels. Ciel, mon Pinard!, for example, had more to do with culinary education than simple recipe execution. Other current shows, such as Radio-Canada's L'épicerie [in French only] and Kampaï [in French only], build on the importance of a healthy diet.

Anyway... what startled me a bit when reading The Gazette's story was the way the reporter presented this Québec peculiarity:"Surprisingly, the province that invented poutine actually has a higher consumption of fresh produce than other provinces. [...] maybe it's the only way to negate the effects of cheese curds and gravy."It took me a little while to pinpoint it, but there it was... just a few words that betrayed the writer's objectivity. She wasn't simply reporting the news; she was writing she didn't expect it. And I thought... "well... this isn't a column... why am I reading about the writer's perspective?".

I wrote her about it. She replied that "it was intended as a fun little ironic observation".

It's not that big of a deal really. Still, I'm wondering how an ironic observation contributes to the journalistic integrity of a credible newspaper.


Raman said...

Bon, je fais mon cynique là... Mais à quand un "surprisingly, the province that is notoriously antisemitic boasts the lowest rates of anti-Jewish hate acts year after year" ?...

Michel Bolduc said...