Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Artisan Steak Sauce

From two time offender, Norman Bishop, I bring you Artisan Steak Sauce.

I feel like there is some zen-like chicken and egg thing going on here. If your steak is any good, you should cringe at the idea of steak sauce. And if your steak sauce is really that good, you shouldn't be putting it on crappy meat. A person who appreciates any kind of "fine food", well -- this stuff should just make their head explode, I think.

Beyond the fact that steak sauce was invented to cover shitty meat and therefore cannot be an artisan product, I think it's time to dig into the question, "Just who is this Norman Bishop?" A quick google search yields fascinating results. He may be an actor, he may be a hedge fund manager, he may even be a 36-year veteran of the National Park Service, stationed in Yellowstone. What I am not getting on the googler is proof that there is a Norman Bishop who apprenticed for many years under the great masters learning to make meat rubs and steak sauces.

Since master artisan Norman Bishop does not seem to exist, I'm going to go with this guy. And I am going to imagine that that spiffy necklace thing is his award for douchebaggery of the highest order. Right on, Norm.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Artisan Polenta

I think we've hit a new low. Artisan polenta? It's corn meal, people.

Can you guess what makes it artisan? Apparently, the price. This corn dust is $11.59 a pound. In US dollars. ELEVEN FIFTY NINE.

As a food activist, I often go on and on about how we are not paying the true cost of food, but really... $11.59?! For that price it better have been ground by the worn, nubby teeth of an authentic Piedmontese grandmother.

Polenta is peasant food. It is cornmeal mush - a dish historically eaten because poor people needed to fill their stomach with something before putting in a hard day's work. This is just batshit crazy.

And even though they are telling you it is stone-ground, let me assure you, it is not artisan. I can tell you from personal experience, pulverizing shit doesn't take a lot of skill. It just takes rage. Of which, once again, I am full-up.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Artisan Organic Summer Fruit

As a farmer, it kinda hurts me to say this to another farmer, but duty calls: STFU you opportunistic asshat.

Artisan fruit.

Why can't they just be happy with organic as a modifier? That's pretty great. Seriously. It's great. But no, they HAD to go a step further, didn't they?

What makes their fruit artisan? Apparently the weather. Four seasons, cold winters, hot summers... Really? The weather makes you an artisan?

We are currently farming in the worst drought in Texas' recorded history. Excuse me if I I don't get on board with this particular piece of bullshit. In fact, were I inclined to say you could be an artisan farmer (which I most definitely am not) I think I would say that the farmers in Central Texas are the real artisans here, managing to coax food from the earth against all, very long and dispiriting odds. But I won't say that, instead I'll just say to the marketing folks at Stemilt, "I hate you and I hate your ass face."

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Artisan Roasted Chicken Broth

Are they serious? I've already raged on the fact I don't believe in artisan soup, but this isn't even soup -- it's just BROTH. At least the other package had noodles and some little dessicated carrot bits. You look at this stuff, and the three anemic slivers of celery and bias-cut carrots are just a "serving suggestion".

While you're looking at the package, scan up a little to the proud declaration, "Raised without antibiotics." What, your broth? Lived its natural broth-life without antibiotics? It grew up in the tough alleys of the stock-yards without succumbing to drugs? (Get it? Broth..."stock" yards... ...oh, forget it this stuff is so bad it's making ME suck.)

Finally, let's move to the web copy, which states,"Made from hand-picked ingredients in the chefs’ tradition of kettle cooking, our Artisan Roasted Chicken Broth boasts three times the protein of other natural chicken broths and can promote good digestion, strong joints and respiratory health."

Get that? Whereas other broth's ingredients are oft picked by robots, these are picked by hand. In the "kettle cooking" tradition. Seriously. What the hell? And I can't even begin to fathom how that process yields a broth with three times the protein. But it doeasn't really matter, because I ain't buying it. Even if a halal chicken "coupled" with root vegetables in it, (Thanks, unintentionally imagery-laden web copy!) it just isn't artisan.