Friday, December 26, 2014


I might have reached my middle thirties without encountering the word "artisanal". "Artisan" I knew, though it seems to me chiefly through Yeats's "Meditations in Time of Civil War". Then some column in a magazine referred to the making of artisanal bread: I think that the writer might have used wild yeast. I did not think much about this, but on a vacation to Europe a year or two later, I noticed "artisanal" on signs.

Now one sees it everywhere. Bread has long been artisanal, beers and wines are artisanal. A month or so ago, The New York Times wrote up an actress who has retired upstate to practice artisanal motherhood. That suggests to me that we have reached "peak artisanal" and that another adjective is on the way to supplant it. What will it be?

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