Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Artisan Onions

From the incredibly ballsy folk at Tanimura & Antle, whose previous claim to fame was Artisan Diet Lettuce, we now have artisan red onions. Oh, I'm sorry, Artisan Sweet Italian Red Onions. From California. And a few other states. And also Peru.

These jerks are going to add a new "artisan" vegetable every few months. I can just sense it.

From their website, "Each Artisan Red Onion is hand harvested, meaning we are able to offer an onion that looks fantastic and is of consistent quality."

Because I am guessing you may not be a farmer, allow me to clue you in on something. Almost all onions are hand harvested. Usually by undocumented immigrants who are paid insanely low wages. But this is not a food politics blog, so let's just leave it at the fact that mechanical harvesting is not exactly dominant in the onion world.

I can only guess that this new marketing ploy of calling their vegetables "artisan" is working, because just two months ago, their only artisan veg was lettuce. Yes, I predict a full, lengthy menu of artisan vegetables is on the way. And, personally, I cannot wait for the day when one of their hand harvesters takes an artisan shit in one of the many, many artisan fields and they have an artisan e. coli related recall.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Artisan Organic Germinated Rice Flakes

Oh, man - do I ever love the packaging on this. Really. No snark. That is sweet. But I think I can get past that to go for the jugular: Artisan Germinated Rice Flakes?

Germinating does not take an artisan. In fact, I have an old bag of potatoes germinating in my pantry right now. Of their own volition. I probably have garlic and onions germinating, too. I noticed that the country of origin on these is Thailand. They probably have the same issue I do in humid Houston, TX...Shit just starts germinating before you get a chance to eat it. That does not make us all artisans.

An what, exactly, is the point of germinating rice? From the website: "Germinated rice contains greater amount of a naturally occurring amino acid, known as Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) which helps to promote mind relaxation, ease nerve tension and stabilize blood sugar that makes it beneficial for diabetic."

Obviously the woo only works if you eat it, because right now this non-artisanal sprouted rice is promoting mind strain and jacking up my nerve tension.

So anyway, the ingredients here are: germinated brown rice, germinated red rice, germinated Hom Nin rice. Classic rule four violation. Verdict: ไม่ช่างฝีมือ (Not artisan)

(The Thai is a nice touch, no?)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nature's Artisan Ornamental Shrimp Food Crumble

At first glance, this appears to be the nourishment of some kind of secret society. There is absolutely no indication as to what the hell it is or who/what is supposed to eat it.

Is it made of shrimp? ....Shrimp food crumble. It could be made of crumbled shrimp. But, ornamental? Does that mean you aren't supposed to really eat it? Like ornamental peppers? Classic artisan modifier/noun confusion - the word soup these products are often known for.

So I dug deeper. And it appears this is food to feed to your ornamental shrimp. ...Of course.

I really should just leave this alone. I can't say anything that would make this more amazing.

...except for the product description.

" Nature Shrimp Foods are specially formulated to provide your Shrimp with essential elements to boost their immune systems while providing a tasty, preservative free, well-balanced diet. All of Nature's formulas are non-clouding and will fit right into your normal feeding regime. You will not believe what fantastic color your shrimp will have! Only top quality ingredients are used. Crucial ingredients are de-hydrated to keep all the vitamins and nutrients in tact. Then, they are hand ground, blended, and precision mixed. Nature foods are slow oven baked at 190 degrees to retain the integrity of all the vitamins and minerals. Above 200 degrees the vitamins and trace elements would be lost. "

Jesus. Imagine if people put that much thought into what they put in their own bodies. This may not be artisan, but I award 1000 crazy points and a fair bit of respect for that kind of passion. Well done, Ornamental Shrimp Food Crumble Guys, well done.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Artisan Sugar-Free Syrup

Sugar-free syrup. That's kind of like meat-free sausage -- which has already received an emphatic no vote on the artisan scale. But I am just talking concept here: sugar-free syrup. Freaking ludicrous. And then to claim it's artisan?? Absolutely punch-in-the-throat-worthy.

These "syrups" are made with Splenda. You know Splenda, right? The artisan sucralose based sugar replacer. Little old ladies use time-honored, family-cultivated methods to replace select hydrogen-oxygen groups on sucrose molecules with three chlorine atoms and voila! Calorie-free sweetener! (Thank you, Wikipedia!)

It's bad enough to call sugar-free syrup artisan, but look at the bottle on the left. Caramel. So you don't have to go look it up, let me just tell you that Splenda cannot be caramelized. Something to do with the chemical structure.

So to recap: Caramel syrup minus caramelization minus syrup = offensive bottle of viscous bullshit.

Let us never speak of this again.