I have two books on the way. The first is The Secret Atlas of North Coast Food. It’s a collection of 24 chapters of journalistic essays paired with maps, on the topic of food and drink in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. I edited it, and managed its Kickstarter campaign. Our goal was to raise $16,000; we raised $22,000.
Here’s a blurb about the Secret Atlas from Minnesota Public Radio host Tom Crann: “…Whether your haunt is East Lake Street, or the Superior National Forest, you’ll learn a lot about where to eat, and how we all eat in these parts, in this enlightening, well-written, and delightfully illustrated compendium.”
The second is Lake Superior Flavors, to be published in April 2014 by the University of Minnesota Press. It’s a depiction of food and drink all around the shores of Lake Superior, based on two circle tours and numerous follow-up visits.
The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin
by James Norton with photos by Becca Dilley
University of Wisconsin Press, 2009
About the Book
For four and a half months, author Norton and photographer Becca Dilley drove the backroads of Wisconsin, meeting and interviewing 43 certified master cheesemakers at 35 different dairy plants. This lushly illustrated story of Wisconsin cheese encompasses history, biographical profiles, and tasting notes from dozens of cheeses.
“Cheesemakers have for too long been undervalued in our culture, and I’m so glad to see a book that gives them their due. Peruse this photo-rich, artfully written profile of cheddar, havarti and muenster makers, in fact, and you will want to rise from your chair to give them a standing ovation.”
— Terese Allen, The Isthmus, Dec. 18, 2009
“[Dilley’s] striking photos enhance Norton’s engaging prose.”
— Doug Moe, The Wisconsin State Journal, Nov. 19, 2009
Minnesota Lunch: From Pasties to Bahn Mi
Edited by James Norton with writing by James Norton, Susan Pagani, Lori Writer, and Jill Lewis and photographs by Katie Cannon and Becca Dilley
Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2011
About the Book
Norton and three other contributing writers researched and contributed essays about sandwiches and other lunch foods with special connections to Minnesota including the banh mi, fried walleye sandwiches, the Jucy Lucy cheese-stuffed hamburger, the hot dago sandwich, and more. The authors aimed to explore history, culture, and immigration by telling the stories of folk food with humble but significant roots.
“…A new book about our state’s sandwiches, ‘Minnesota Lunch,’ is sure to please. Rich in facts and regional flavor, the collection from James Norton and the Heavy Table website team reflects the same insatiable curiosity and shoe-leather reporting as their online
— Beth Dooley, The Star Tribune, May. 12, 2011
Saving General Washington: The Right-Wing Assault on America’s Founding Principles
by James Norton
About the Book
Written during a break from serving on the staff of The Al Franken Show, this book is equal parts history and politics. Within the context of the correspondence and official writings of America’s Founding Fathers, Norton scrutinized both the rhetoric and action of the Bush Administration and found them out of synch with the country’s founding values.
“[It is] a great irony, Norton argues, that the Bushies so intently strip away civil liberties even as they profess to be legitimate heirs to the likes of Adams, Washington and Jefferson. In the matter of nepotism alone, Norton deftly shows, they don’t even approach operating in the same moral universe. More Jon Stewart’s America than Alistair Cooke’s, but with a fierce and often funny point.”
“Saving General Washington: The Right Wing Assault on America’s Founding Principles” is a redemptive book for Americans who still believe in this promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is a reminder — as timely as it is necessary — that those of us who
cherish freedom, equality and justice are patriots to the cause of Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Paine.
— John Nichols, The [Madison, WI] Capital Times, July 2006