Wendy's Artisan Bread: Please Give Us a Break
Wendy's is offering a Frescata Club sandwich using its freshly baked "artisan" bread on TV, where I first learned of this magnificent achievement in fast food, and on the web.
"Your favorite deli cuts of turkey and black forest ham mounded high on our freshly baked artisan bread, topped with 2 bacon strips, lettuce, tomato and mayo. This club is fit for a king."Given the sizes of the stores, Wendy's must keep its imported Italian bakers underground pumping out their hand made bread as fast as we require it.
We must applaud Wendy's for training its bakers to make artisan Italian bread. The French Culinary Institute in New York City offers a "Total ImmersionSM method can fully train you to bake a range of international artisan breads in eight exhilarating weeks." The full course takes 240 hours but the section on Italian bread would be shorter.
If you have seen the Wendy's ad on TV you know the tray of "artisan" bread they display doesn't look like any bread I've seen in Italy or Germany or anywhere else I've been other than a fast food resterarunt . If you haven't just go to the Wendy's link in the first paragraph and check out the bun (uh, well, maybe bread) pictured there and then imagine a tray of these odd looking pieces of bread (buns) arrayed in rows and columns. Though you know how I feel about what dictionaries do -- they don't define words but give guides to usage -- but the essential element in artisan bread or cheese or wine or beer is that a craftsman (or woman, of course) is doing the work. The online Webster's gives the etymology of the word as:
Middle French, ultimately from Old Italian artigiano, from arte art, from Latin art-, arsThe fact is that Wendy's is acting like it can use language in any way it wants no matter how false the resulting claims are. If we all felt free to do that in our own ads -- say in a personal we might write to attract someone to go out with us, then the words of our language would cease to have a conventional meaning and not just personal ads, but language itself would cease to be of any use since no one could rely on what anyone says. Of course, we aren't going to do that. Just greedy manufacturers of foods who must think we are idiots or that we just don't care about the truth and politicians and other liars.
Perhaps we need as part of Homeland Security a unit of Forensic Language Police that strike down the enemies of honest advertising and politicking who employ linguistic distortions of the sort Wendy's is doing. The security of our nation depends on a secure and reliable language so that our fighting men and women can communicate with each other in an effective manner and Wendy's is threatening the very foundations of our language, and therefore our nation. I suppose Bush would appoint a General to run the unit.