When we were vacationing in France, one of the things that struck us was how proud the French were of their country, and how many of their products were locally made. From simple ceramics to rolling pins to expensive copper cookware, most of the things we came across were made within France. Even McDonalds has commited to using mostly locally farmed French produce and meat within the Paris stores (because that was the only way they could entice people to eat there). We decided to do something similar with our own household purchases. We had already started; our dishes are Fiestaware, our glasses are made by Anchor Hocking (thanks Aunt Kirsten!) and we have some Lodge and Pyrex things as well.
What was most striking to me was when I visited a store that I used to think was extremely cute and artsy (albeit expensive) and realized that EVERYTHING THEY CARRIED was made in China. I'm not naming names, but it rhymes with schmanthropologie. I thought to myself, "why am supposed to think it's okay to pay $70 for this shirt when it's made in China, across the street from the people working for Target?". I understand paying more for something that's made by people getting paid a fair wage, for well-made and sturdy goods. But paying more because I'm funding an advertising campaign seems pretty stupid. So NO more. We've decided to try and buy American-made when we can, to support our country and to ensure that we're not contributing to undemocratic working conditions. Here are some of the beautiful things that we either already have or are lusting after:
We have Anchor Hocking Glasses for everyday use, as well as some pie plates. They also make other glass cooking products, drinkware, mixing bowls, and serveware. I am lusting after the contemporary serving bowls to use as both mixing and serving bowls; however, I am pretty klutzy (I actually recently broke a mellamine mixing bowl, so I'm not sure glass is the best idea) but they're very pretty if you don't have butterfingers like me. And also great because everyone seems to be worried about chemicals leeching out of plastic these days.
I started buying Fiestaware when I was 18 and about to move into my very first apartment. I started out with 4 place settings, and have grown to have 9 in various colors, along with a cream/sugar set, salt and pepper shakers, and even Fiestaware dog bowls for Reagan. It's hardy and fun. It makes every meal a Fiesta!
Ethan has an everyday collapsible knife from this Company that was given to him for his birthday and he loves it. We both agree that their steak knives would be a beautiful and functional addition to our kitchen (as soon as we're making income and not living on student loans!)
Everyone loves Pyrex! We have many of their baking and cooking items, and they're great. Their vintage glass refrigerator storage has recently gained popularity-Ethan's mom has a large set that she got when she was first Married, and it's kind of awesome (although I'm secretly afraid of dropping it...)
Blue Star ovens are awesome... I beleive they are less expensive than other super-expensive ovens (like Viking) for similar or superior quality. They have a 22,000 BTU burner, the highest in the industry, as well as tons of color choices. We've already agreed that when we're rich and famous we'll get a 60 inch Blue Star range and cook all the time. That will probably happen in about 30-40 years. I plan ahead.
Lodge cast iron has been made for years and years. We got a cast-iron skillet for a wedding present from my Grandma Jan, and it is in constant rotation. We use it for bacon, fried eggs, searing meats, and frittatas. It is AWESOME. However, it should be mentioned that their enameled dutch ovens are an exception to the American-made glory; they are made in China of French enamel.
We got a Rodney Kent serving platter as a wedding gift. It's made of Magalon, a magnesium-aluminum alloy that is oven-proof. We honestly just picked it because we liked the look, but since receiving our platter I have researched it a bit more; Rodney Kent aluminum serving pieces were very popular in the 1940s and 1950s as wedding gifts, and it is readily collectible on Ebay (hint, hint, birthday gifts!). It is affordable enough that we can continue to add to our collection, and it is beautiful and rustic at the same time.
If you're interested in more American-made products, you can visit this website. This is by no means a comprehensive website, but it is useful as a starting point.