Friday, August 24, 2007

Wisconsin cheese — Artisanal, even!

I've been feeling a little bad for not writing more while fellow Midwestern-based linguistics bloggers Wishydig and Polyglot Conspiracy were getting the semester started and on the road, respectively. But I have been too busy and just not having a lot to say. Fortunately, our newest team member Monica has been blogging up a storm around here. (For the record: I do sleep regularly and do not ever hang like a bat.) But on to cheese news …

First, Wonkette has declared its love for former Wisco gov and failed presidential candidate Tommy G. Thompson with a ringing endorsement of his broccoli/cheese quiche recipe. More precisely, it's the recipe his executive chef used to do and it looks utterly generic.

Far tastier, the Isthmus reports that we're getting an "artisanal cheese shop" downtown, Fromagination, 12 S. Carroll St. Reviews to follow! (The name's too cute, but my hopes are high.) Now, no spellchecker on my computer seems to like the adjective artisanal, and every time I hear it, it seems like it's a cheese-related collocation. Maybe that's about my tastes or from living in Wisconsin, but its use for cheese seems to outstrip other food uses and I barely think of it as used beyond food. OED On-line has the relevant definition as its second:
2. Of a product: handmade (esp. with care and skill) using traditional techniques; having qualities associated with small-scale, pre-industrial production.
Interestingly, it's first attested in 1983 (first baguettes, then calvados), and mostly with food.

God, I love cheese.


Monica said...

My problem is where the stress goes in that word. ARtisanal? artiSANal? I was absent the day they taught English stress rules in school, so I can never figure these things out.

Karen said...

In Spanish, they describe local foods and crafts made by hand or with very little technology as "artesanías". A definition on Wikipedia reads: La artesanía comprende, básicamente, obras y trabajos realizados manualmente y con poca intervención de maquinaria, habitualmente son objetos decorativos o de uso común. Al que se dedica a esta actividad se le denomina artesano.

My Spanish/French influenced instinct would encourage the pronunciation "artesanAL". Apparently, both "artesanal" and "artisanal" are possible spellings in English based on a google search count. I think that the "i" variant is French and the "e" variant is from Spanish.

Anonymous said...

Should it be "Mediterranean artisanal cuisine" OR "Mediterranean artisan cuisine"?

I'm opting for "artisan."

What's your opinion? I'd like to know.

I'll try to get back to this post and any responses if I can find the site again.

Regarding the stress, I'm thinking of the Italian noun "artigiano/a" and the adjective "artigianale/i". In both cases, the stress goes next to the last syllable as in artiSANAL, which I do not like for the obvious phonetic ending. I'd rather prefer "artISanal, ie, on the second syllable, which is different than ARTisanal whose stress is on the first syllable.

Regarding my question above, and if I can't find my way back here, can you send me a response to:

Thank you all very much and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.


Mr. Verb said...

"Artisan" as an adjective sounds fine to me ... and it avoids the stress problem. In fact, 'artisan cuisine' rolls off my tongue easily enough. But I think the wave is rolling against us there ... the -al form may sound more sophisticated in a realm where sounding fancy seems important to folks. But let's see if anybody weighs in on this one.

There should be a box on this comment page 'email follow-up comments to:', but maybe that only shows up if you have a blogspot account or something.

And a happy New Year to you as well!