This week I reviewed Una Pizza Napolitana, where owner and sole cook Anthony Mangieri practices a singular devotion to making pizza, and has developed a fervid following for it. (Read my interview with Mangieri here.) We have entered the era of the artisan as romantic hero. Artists and rock stars still hold an allure for the romantically predisposed. But so do the baker who cultures his own wild yeasts and stokes his own oven, the chocolate makers who grind their beans by hand and wrap their own bars, and the pickle maker who refuses to touch a drop of vinegar. More and more, we pay homage to the way these artisans flout the industrialized-food norm and the so-called extreme measures (i.e., the steps to make something before the process was mechanized) called for by their passion for their craft. What used to be considered someone's livelihood a few generations ago is now someone's artistic vision.
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