How the Sausage Is Made

How the Sausage Is Made

Notes on Craft and Context

illustration by Jessica Fontenot

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How the Sausage Is Made

Notes on Craft and Context

by Danille Elise Christensen
Southern Cultures, Vol. 28, No. 1: Crafted

"The sad state of Spam fresh from the can is legendary. Yet the physical appearance of home-cured and factory processed meats belies other kinds of appeal.”

In today’s food and beverage world, the adjective craft often signifies more than technique or ingredients: it points to scale, agency, and audience, to small-batch creations just inventive enough to attract discriminating publics. Trace the word back, though, and its meanings broaden. As archaeologist and historian Alexander Langlands explains it, the Old English cræft referred to making undertaken with a savvy resourcefulness, a combination of skill and ingenious adaptation. Cræft encompassed not only manual dexterity, but also the surprising repurposings of poetry, the thrifty management of time and materials, and the negotiated give-and-take of relationship-building.

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