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Norwalk author explores artisan revival in new book

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NORWALK — When cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken went out to eat near his home in Lowighton, a nearby restaurant drew inspiration from famed chef Alice Waters, known for pioneering the farm-to-table transition. I realized what I was getting.

“We’re looking at restaurants that fit Alice Waters’ definition of a foodie restaurant. They’re thriving,” McCracken said.

McCracken, who specializes in American culture, said the restaurant was part of a craftsman movement that began as a reaction to the industrialization of American life in the 1950s. All the states are noticing it, and his new book explains his take on how it came to be.

The book Return of the Artisan: How America Wanted to Industrial from Industrial to Handmade also explores how technology and the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted industry growth.

“Artisan manufacturers may sound like they create arts and crafts, but it’s actually a designation that applies to all manufacturers who make objects without the use of industrialized tools. said McCracken. “Whoever makes and sells jams and wooden furniture is a maker of craftsmanship.”

McCracken says he sees a variety of businesses in the Norwalk area.