Sunday, April 24, 2011

Kroger Artisan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

From the maker: "Natural & artificially flavored Kroger Deluxe Ice Cream is the perfect everyday indulgence."

You can be sure that if they don't understand that "everyday" and "indulgence" are dichotomous, then "artificially flavored" and "artisan" won't strike them as incongruous, either.

Also, as happens so often with these distinctly non-artisan products, I am wondering what the word artisan was meant to modify. The vanilla beans? Because that is a definite rule four violation. An orchid made those.

The ice cream? Because when your product contains any one of the following (and this puppy has them all) you are also disqualified: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Artificial Flavors, Cellulose Gel, Guar Gum, Cellulose Gum, Mono- and Diglycerides, Locust Bean Gum, Polysorbate 80 & Carrageenan.

This is so not artisan that it makes me want to go to Kroger and punch some random shelf stocker in the throat. Collective punishment is sometimes warranted.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Artisan Lettuce

More artisan lettuce! But this one will help you get in shape, as compared to the cholesterol-laden, fat-saturated, refined mess that is Fresh Express. That's right... Diet artisan lettuce!


From their website: "Fully mature, yet petite in size, our Artisan Lettuce is a fresher alternative to spring mix and other bagged salads."

Wow. I naively thought freshness was measured in time. Turns out it is a measure of size! Which makes sense. A newborn baby is very small and is significantly fresher than my fully grown ass. Really-- don't get caught up in chronology -- it is the size. Because dwarfs? It's a scientific fact that dwarfs stay fresh way past middle age.

They go on to say that each head is "packed in the field and never processed". By processed, do they mean washed? Because that is not exactly a downside for me. I don't really mind if my packaged lettuce gets a good cleaning by a trained agricultural artisan.

...Bonus points if it's a dwarf.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Starbucks Artisan Breakfast Sandwiches

OK-- since they say a picture is worth 1000 words, I'm going to let the photos write today's entry.

This is a Starbucks Artisan bacon egg and cheese sandwich.

And this is a Jack in the Box breakfast sandwich:

Case closed.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fresh Express Artisanal Salad

From Fresh Express: The people who decided that you were too lazy or stupid to cut up iceberg lettuce are now hoping you don't know that "rocket" is just what the British call arugula. No, they hope you think it's some kind of artisan arugula - as if you and I didn't already coin rule number four.

But wait, you say, they artisanally blended it with "Seasonal Pacific Greens"! Artisanal blending! They also say it was "grown in small crops" of "select varieties"!

Freakin' asshats. All crops are select varieties. They don't magically appear. The farmer selects, them, plants them, cares for them and that's what grows. And farmers are heroes. Really, I believe that.

...but they are not artisans.

And neither are the people who wash and seal what the farmers have grown into bags made from "50% less plastic." Less than what???

Make no mistake, you pay a few cents more for every bit of superfluous bullshit copy on that bag.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Artisan Creations Snack Mix

Artisan nut mix. As the wholesaler implores, "Break traditional boundaries with bold and unexpected flavor snack nut combinations."

Flavor snack nut combinations.

Bygones. Atrocious copy-writing seems to be the norm.

So what goes into an artisan snack nut combination like "PB&J Mix"? "PB&J Mix lets snackers enjoy peanut butter and jelly-flavored peanuts mixed with cherry-flavored cranberries and peanut butter drops!"

Ah, "jelly flavored peanuts". I remember those from my African great grandmother's stories of childhood. Only in Ghana -then called the Gold Coast -where she came from, they were called jelly flavored groundnuts. But the tradition hasn't changed!

Next up: cherry-flavored cranberries. WTF is wrong with cranberry flavored cranberries? And how do you make artisan cherry-flavored cranberries? Glad you asked. It's sugar, cranberries, citric acid, natural cherry flavor, natural flavors, elderberry juice concentrate and sunflower oil.

The final component is "peanut butter drops", made in the laborious artisan fashion by hand-defatting peanuts (only partially!) and mixing with other quality ingredients. (partially defatted peanuts, sugar, blend of vegetable oils [contains partially hydrogenated palm kernel and soybean oils], nonfat milk, dextrose, salt, soya lecithin [an emulsifier], vanillin [artificial flavoring])

Taste the art, my friends. Taste the art.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Artisan Wheat Thins

See Artisan Tostitos . Or pretty much any other entry that deals with crackers or cheese that is not actually artisan. These categories seem to be the most frequent offenders. I guess because cheese and bread are two of very few foods that can actually be called artisan when done right.

But Artisan Wisconsin Colby? Come on, man. Colby was invented specifically for the unevolved cheese eater for whom cheddar was simply "too strong!!" Colby is cheddar whose curds have been washed to remove flavor. TO REMOVE FLAVOR. Not artisan --- lame.

And once again I have trouble discerning what the word artisan is supposed to be modifying. If not the cheese, which we have covered, then the crackers. Which, when made in a factory by a guy wearing one of these is not artisan. For reals. You think his moustache hair is not a threat? I do not undertand that particular invention. But I digress. Artisan Wheat Thins: not artisan.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Artisan Breadsticks

Direct to you from the master craftsmen at it's artisan bread sticks!

First, another rule...I think we're on five? If you can buy it only in bulk, it is not artisan.

And next, a quibble with the product. Sticks of flour and water with a shelf life of NINE MONTHS are not bread. At best, these things are cylindrical crackers. Great artisan bread lasts less than a day. When you get a really good baguette, you are very sad the next day when the portion you didn't eat is more a weapon than a food, but you make french toast and move on. Because it was that good.

I know it is easy to get suckered in to believing these things are artisan - after all, they did depict a master baker on the front; the taller the hat, the more skilled the artisan, you know. But look at the bread in his basket and tell me how big this box would have to be if that was the product they were selling. Frankly, I am running out of appropriate insults for the jerks responsible for this stuff. I'm about to start making up new ones. ...stupid chodes.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Canterbury Naturals Down Home Chicken Noodle Classic Artisan Soup Mix

Artisan soup mix. This is perilously close to artisan spice mix in concept, but somehow even worse. Because I am just not buying the idea that soup could EVER be artisan. Soup is classically bits of carcass or vegetable scraps thrown in a pot with water and cooked until it tastes like something. Any a-hole can make soup. Trust me...I make soup.

But this? This isn't even soup. This is a bag of noodles and dessicated carrots. Charlie Bucket's mom made better soup than this.

And get this-- I originally found the ridiculously named Canterbury Naturals Down Home Chicken Noodle Classic Artisan Soup Mix at Really. Does this need to be a rule? That if you can buy it at, then it is not artisan? 'Cause I'll make another rule....

I'll bet these Canterbury people aren't even English. ...Loathsome fakers.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Starbucks Protein Artisan Snack Plate

Starbucks, you d-bag! We already covered why an egg is not artisan. Rule three - it came out of a chicken's ass.

Rule four shall be thus: If a plant made it, it is not artisan. So, we've covered the apple and grapes, too.

The white cheddar could be artisan. But I'll wager you it is not. I'll bet it was made in a big factory with homogenized milk from many sources combined and treated to be sure each batch yields an identical end product. With no rind.

Not artisan.

So what does that leave? Bread and "peanut butter honey spread". Oh, and the fact that it is freaking Starbucks. Which has a zillion locations, many within peanut-buttery-anaphalactic-shock range of a Bed Bath and Beyond.

Also, what the hell is artisan even modifying in this product name? Protein? Snacks? The plate? Ah, maybe that's it -- maybe it's served on hand-thrown pottery. If so, well played, Starbucks.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Artisan Salt

Unless you took sodium ions and chloride ions and used some serious juju and/or alchemy to fuse them into a crystalline structure, your salt is not artisan.

The artisan salt company has a lot of products. At first, this was my favorite: "Sel De Mer (Coarse Grain) is simply solar evaporated Mediterranean Sea water." (Ahem, meaning the artisan here is the sun, thank you very much.)

But then I found this one: "Kala Namak is an essential ingredient in authentic Indian cuisine. The distinctive smell and flavor of egg yokes makes this salt unforgettable."

Bwa ha ha! Egg yokes. I hate to be a jerk (OK, not really, I love it) but if you don't know it's "yolks", you should probably not even be in the food business. ...and you are definitely not an artisan. And as a personal note, I do not want salt that smells like farts. Because I assume that is what they mean. That it reeks of sulfur.

I am going to invent my own artisan salt: The Rock is hand-harvested from the sweaty groin region of professional wrestlers. It imparts a certain je nais sais quoi to artisan corn chips.

...and scene!

Norman Bishop Artisan Meat Rub

If ever two words were combined that conjured up bad, non-food related images, they would be meat rub. Please. That is how it is advertised on the web. Fortunately Norman had enough sense to call it Barbecue Rub on the label. Bonus points, Norm.

As far as artisan spice blends? I dunno. I mean --- I guess it takes some talent to get it right. Left to non-artisans, you get things like McCormick Curry Powder. Still - I am voting no on artisan meat rub. Certainly Norm did not cultivate, dehydrate and pulverize whatever is in this stuff. And a little note on dodgy artisan internet spice rubs - I could not find a list of what is in this stuff, even with intensive googling.

Additional caution: Intensive googling can lead to meat rubbing.

Artisan Acacia Honey

Honey is bee vomit. Unless the maker of this product ate flower nectar and regurgitated delicious golden ambrosia, he/she is not an artisan. He/she is a materials handler.

As far as I know there is no way to get honey without putting on the hazmat suit and reaching into the hive. So, while that is a time-honored labor of love, the actual honey is simply not artisanal.

I feel a rule coming on here: If an animal made it (honey, milk, uncured/unprocessed meat) it is not artisan. And you will be labeled a a d-bag if you try to take credit for it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Grandma Lucy's Artisan Freeze Dried/Grain Free Dog Food

Dog food. DOG. FOOD.

Just the way they used to feed the dogs in the Old Country, I am sure. The gluten-intolerant dogs, anyway. (Grain free!)

From the website: "Grandma Lucy's Artisan Chicken Grain-Free Dog Food. At Grandma Lucy's our goal has always been a simple one - to make pure and simple pet food products. We do things the same way you would if you had the time to cook for your pet. We take care to use only human-quality, all-natural ingredients and nothing else. When you choose Grandma Lucy's Artisan, you know you are making the right choice for your pet."

Yes, there is a long standing tradition of cooking for dogs. ...And not just among the child-free! From rural India to urban Odessa, the bountiful harvests have historically been too much for people. That is why the excess meat, potatoes, carrots, celery, apples & blueberries went into complicated food for the dogs. You have wikipedia. Look it up!

Olive Garden's Artisanal Ravioli

OK- so I was late enough creating this blog that these puppies disappeared. There is a nice recap here.

Basically, Olive Garden came up with ravioli flavors that would be kooky in Suburban Salt Lake City. Like pear/gorgonzola. "Fruit? And moldy cheese?? Well,I never!"

Here's the deal: If your restaurant has more than three locations - and any one of them is within a stone's throw of a Bed Bath & Beyond or a Payless Shoe Source, what you make is probably not artisan.

Artisan Tostitos

Really? Artisan Tostitos? There may well be a few old-school-tortilla-making abuelitas in the factory, but that does not make your chips artisan. Those ladies could easily work in the accounting office.

Let's just establish rule number one here: Multinational corporations can not make artisan food. I am sure other rules will coalesce as I find more heinous abuses of the term "artisan".

Hm- you know, looking at this again, it seems they are not calling the actual chips artisan, but rather the recipe. So let's just go ahead and establish rule number two: Recipes can not be artisan. There is no tradition of recipe creation, handed down over generations. My bubbe never sat me down to talk about the old days, when they had to come up with recipes in the snow. Uphill. Both ways. In the dark.

And so That is Not Artisan begins. I am ready to crusade against the abuse of the term artisan. Join me. Send me your photos/links/examples and we'll tear these fakers a new one.