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All things "Artisanal"

Phaedrus Jun 8, 2013 03:19 AM

Funny story from NBC on how big companies have corrupted the meaning of the term artisanal from its original intent. Very funny.


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  1. Tripeler Jun 8, 2013 04:04 AM

    I recently saw the expression "artisinal fishermen" on a website for a local fish providing group. "How weird" I thought.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Tripeler
      paulj Jun 8, 2013 08:58 AM

      When I do a Google ngram search on 'artisanal', the earliest entries are 'artisanal fishermen'


      Workers' Co-operative Productive and Artisanal Societies in the Fishing Industry in Canada, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico 1959

      Artisanal Fisheries in Costa Rica 1974

      In fact I don't see references to 'artisanal cooking' until 2005.

      For broader picture we'd also have to search on 'artisinal', 'artisan bread', etc.

      1. re: paulj
        mbfant Jun 9, 2013 11:01 PM

        Yes, practically the first time I ever heard the word was in connection with fisheries, when I was working at FAO as an editor in the early 1980s.

    2. i
      INDIANRIVERFL Jun 10, 2013 07:39 AM

      With time and over use, I am sure the term artisanal will be just as meaningless as organic, or sushi grade.

      1 Reply
      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
        mrbigshotno.1 Jun 15, 2013 05:09 PM

        Just like "awesome".

      2. Veggo Jun 10, 2013 08:00 AM

        I don't like the word. Nothing mellifluous about it. And it has 'anal' in it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Veggo
          ipsedixit Jun 15, 2013 09:59 PM

          That's how I feel about the word "analgesic".

        2. hal2010 Jun 13, 2013 06:53 PM

          It's lost all meaning. For some reason, when it's applied to food, I always picture the chef carving the food out of stone.

          2 Replies
          1. re: hal2010
            Cheese Boy Jun 15, 2013 09:46 PM

            Yes, I envision an artist or sculptor myself too. Silly, but true.

            1. re: hal2010
              paulj Jun 15, 2013 10:09 PM

              gives a nice summary of artisan and artisanal. In a preindustrial context it has plenty of meaning, since most goods and services where produced by artisans (especially if it involved some skill). Now the terms are best used in contrast to industrial production.

              When applied to food production (in the last 20 years or so) it is basically a marketing term. First it was used by small scale producers trying to add some cachet and value to their products. When big producers use it, they are just trying to market a specialty line in competition with those small ones.

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