“Artisan Breads.”

“Artisan Lettuces.”

“Artisan Pizza Crust.”

I started noticing the term “artisan” EVERYWHERE in the grocery store Saturday morning. You know how it is. You see a word somewhere that strikes you as uncommon or unusual, and suddenly you start seeing it everywhere you look. What I discovered was that it’s apparently not uncommon at all! It appears to be the new label in the food industry, and I found myself wondering if it was losing some of its meaning from the apparent overuse.

Truly, can that many items really be handmade by highly skilled craftsmen? In the grocery store??

Because my mind works in mysterious ways, this experience brought to its forefront popular music of the 60’s-70’s vs. popular music of more recent years.

(I know it’s weird, but go with me here.)

In the 60’s-70’s, musicians did everything they could think of to set themselves apart in the industry, which resulted in a WIDE variety of musical styles and sounds, and really rich creativity. Then there came the season of ‘boy bands,’ where every other band was patterning themselves after Backstreet Boys or ‘Nsync, or the ‘girl singer’ era full of Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears wannabes. They started to craft not only their look, but also their sound, after whomever was the most popular and highest chart-ranking star. Really, that’s still going on today. Sadly, it seems that the first one on the scene with a really unique sound takes the world by storm, but by the time it has been replicated over and over, it no longer even sounds that special.

And what about TV shows? How many shows do we really need about ‘little people,’ or highly-skilled cake decorating, or pawn shops or ‘pickers’? The first show is interesting. The second maybe provides a different prospective. But by the time the fourth or even FIFTH comes out, we’re (I’M) sick to death of the topic altogether. It’s just not that cool anymore.

I confess that I did pick up a loaf of artisan bread. It did look handcrafted and was different than anything I could find from Mrs. Baird’s, or even Pepperidge Farm. And in the picking up, it struck me that I, myself, am ‘Artisan-made.’ So are you. Yet, even with our own special and specific ingredients, we succumb to that same old pull to be like everyone else. The comparison and the envy in the world find us trying to jump out of the Hands that made us and force ourselves into an ill-fitting bread bag with a different, more popular logo.

And isn’t it interesting how, in doing that, our true, artisinal fingerprints are hidden, and we tie ourselves off, watering down our specific purpose and meaning in the process?

So, I offer up this reminder to live an artisan life. Embrace the original and unique you, even if your talents lie in places that don’t put you out with the rest of the ‘loaves’… which I guess could also be considered a little food for thought.

(Pun intended. I told you, my mind works in mysterious ways!)


photo courtesy of schoolofslow.org