Friday, December 05, 2008

American Made Holiday Gifts for the Kitchen

I always try to purchase American-made products whenever possible, and the current state of the economy makes me try even harder to locate USA manufactured goods for my Gluten-Free kitchen and home - all in hopes that I help keep people employed here in the United States. I have located some items for my holiday shopping "wish list" this year that will meet my objective, and enhance my baking and culinary capabilities.

I will start by discussing an item I already own from a past holiday purchase... one of my favorite kitchen tools ever! I can hardly describe how much time and effort that LamsonSharp 6" Turner has saved me. It works wonders for flipping my gluten-free pancakes (especially the full pan-sized pancakes I make)! And, all those gluten-free cakes and cheesecakes you see in my book: this "turner" makes a great "cake lifter" too, especially when moving a full 8 to 10" round cake.

We use this large turner utensil to transport an entire cheesecake off of the baking-parchment (that we line a spring-form pan with) and onto a fancier plate, platter, or other cake holder. The leading-edge of the LamsonSharp turner is tapered nicely and slides under gluten-free cakes, pancakes, pizza, etc quite easily. Wonderful product!

Which, leads me to my wish list items from LamsonSharp for this year...

I was looking at the various USA-made kitchen and baking products from LamsonSharp, and noticed they actually make nice knife sets here in the United States yet. I have been looking for a good set of kitchen knives for years now, but keep avoiding all the imported (mostly Chinese, or Chinese components) knife sets that are EVERYWHERE these days. I have looked at higher-end retailers too, and for whatever reason, they bulk of what everyone carries is foreign made.

So, this year I have my eyes on a set of knives from Lamson & Goodnow (i.e., their LamsonSharp line). They sell both stamped knives and forged knives, with the stamped ones being made completely here, and the forged ones incorporating German-made tempered steel. I really do not know if I care whether my blades are forged or stamped; whatever they are, they must be nicer than the knives I currently own.

I also am eyeing up a few of their other kitchen necessities; other specialty items I can see helping me with my gluten-free desserts and baking in general - like that lovely 6" flipper shown above. I bought that one on a whim a couple years ago thinking that it would be nice for pancakes; only to later discover it is handy for so many of my recipe baking and post-baking tasks.

The prices do not look TOO bad, and even if they are a bit more than the cheap Chinese imports, I do not care. I would rather spend a bit extra to get a quality product that, with luck, also helps keep someone in the United States in their job. Saving money on cheap imports does not accomplish much in the long run if nobody in here has a job in the end, right?

This brings me to another favorite bunch of USA-made products...

I have always been a fan of the Lodge Brand Cast Iron products, especially the pre-seasoned cookware (which, if you do not have time to season an unseasoned pan yourself by coating lightly with oil and placing in an oven for a few hours, makes a great solution for just a few bucks more than the unseasoned version). I wrote about using Lodge Cast Iron products for your gluten-free cooking (link) in a prior blog, where I discuss them in more depth.

Lodge cast iron pans are quite reasonably priced too. And, they do not wear out (like inferior Teflon-coated pans). You can scrub these products clean with steel wool if you need to, or nearly anything else (i.e., you are not going to scratch them in any way that will hurt them). Worst case is that you may want to re-season a pan if you end up needing to scrub some of the black patina off. I have a nice collection of them: fry pans, flat griddles, Dutch ovens, etc... the are ALL wonderful. You can find these pans at WalMart and quite a few other places. These pans are highly recommended products - and, made right here in the good old USA in a South Pittsburg, TN foundry.

Although we have a fairly nice collection of these cast-iron pans, there are still a couple most specialized ones that I hope to acquire this year. And, with luck, it helps keep some people in Tennessee employed too!

There are actually still a few products manufactured in the United States. And, some really high-quality and useful products too. I would love to see more products made here, and perhaps this latest economic crisis will reinforce the need for domestic manufacturing... so that when we consumers "consume", we are actually consuming something will result in domestic employment too. Employed persons can then return the favor and purchase other domestically produced items, and perhaps the future of the US economy will start looking brighter.

Well, those are a couple ideas for gluten-free / wheat-free kitchen items this year - all made in the USA. If you have some USA-made ideas that fit this them, feel free to share them in comments. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recommendations. My husband has been looking for a good set of knives and it's so hard to find items made in the USA.
Thanks again.
Wendy said...

For more great American made gifts for the kitchen, browse We have an For The Kitchen category, with all items made by American artisans. Let's make this the year of the American gift!

Gifts Philippines said...

Well, glad I saw this post. I am planning to send a kitchen gifts to my mom. Thanks for sharing this post.