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Mystery of the Beef Commercial: Solved(?)

26 Aug

A generally positive review of Minnesota Lunch in the Farmington Independent may lay to rest the question of how the open-faced mashed potatoes and beef sandwich known as a beef commercial got its name.

Some restauranteurs, including my parents, called them “commercials,” but the authors of “Minnesota Lunch” can’t seem to figure out why and spend lots of time debating. I’ll settle the argument:

My father told me that our restaurant called them commercials because it was a favorite order from traveling salesmen, “commercial people.”

And my father wasn’t even a food writer. So there.

Sassy, but fascinating. I guess I’ll call it “sassinating.”

We Made METRO’s May 2011 Cultural Survival Kit

26 May

A great recurring feature in METRO picked up on Minnesota Lunch.

Minnesota Lunch and Chef Brent Pilrain on KARE11

23 May

Had a great appearance with Eric Perkins on KARE11 this Saturday — you can see Chef Brent Pilrain above (left), about to demonstrate Roma Restaurant’s meatloaf sandwich from the book. I’m the dude in the tie there in the center. You can watch the video here.

Star Tribune Review

12 May

Here’s Beth Dooley, writing in the Star Tribune:

“…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 magazine.”

It’s a great review — both in terms of being positive, and in terms of being well-written and getting the book. Worth a read.

Isthmus Review

28 Apr

Very nice review of Minnesota Lunch by Linda Falkenstein in The Isthmus, the excellent alt weekly of Madison, WI. Here’s the lede:

What a difference a state makes. Frankly, you’d suppose that what folks eat in Minnesota is not all that different from what we Cheeseheads chow down on, come noontime. But with Minnesota Lunch: From Pasties to Banh Mi (Minnesota Historical Society Press, $19.95), editor James Norton has put a stamp, an identity, on what Minnesotans eat for lunch and come up with a nice volume of regional food history to boot.

Minnesota Lunch on KARE11, Heavy Table

10 Apr

There’s a terrific write-up about Minnesota Lunch over on The Heavy Table by John Garland: you can read it here. Author James Norton also appeared on KARE11 to talk about the book and the booming local restaurant scene.

Minnesota Lunch Media Appearances: Podcast, TV

23 Mar

Author James Norton appeared on The Well Fed Guide of Life last night, a podcast that was taped over a hearty meatloaf sandwich (and more) at Cheeky Monkey Deli in St. Paul. Give it a listen!

He’s also slated to appear on KARE11 this Sunday (Mar. 27) at 10pm, after America’s Next Great Restaurant.