Made In The U.S.A.

My Kitchen Stuff: From Whence It Came

In Adventures on September 16, 2009 at 12:33 am

The wedding registry work got me to thinking about the things that currently inhabit my kitchen. Out of curiosity, I looked around at the things I purchased for the kitchen long before I worried about origins. Some of it ain’t so bad.

George Foreman Grill. One of the best unwanted gifts I’ve ever received. I opened it and thought, “What the hell am I going to do with this?” Then I used it. Now I think, “What the hell would I ever do without this!” It is, of course, Made In China. (An interesting aside; we looked for a nicer newer version of this during registering, and the new Foreman was round and the size of a sled. It also felt, sorry George, really really crappy. So we registered for a really fancy/schmancy Calphalon version. It, too, is probably foreign-born. Also as an aside, did you know that George Foreman has gotten rich from his Foreman grills? Yes. Like 150-million-dollars rich. Him. Personally. Aside number three, per Wikipedia: In the VH1 Show “Hogan Knows Best”, Hulk Hogan revealed that he was offered the contract for the grill first, but decided against the investment in exchange for a Hulk Hogan blender. Other sources explain it was because he missed a phone call.

Hulk Hogan Blender. Just kidding. I don’t have one. But I want one. It’s called “The Thunderizer.”

– Starbucks Coffee Maker. When I got de-vorced in 2004, she got the coffee pot. So I got a new one. Actually, though, it was a used one. I bought it on eBay for about $60. The seller said it was $200-plus new. (So even before I was buying MITUSA, I was buying used. Maybe I’m just cheap?) Sure enough, the thing was in great shape and it’s been with me ever since. And best of all, it doesn’t have a heater base. It’s got a thermal insulated pot that keeps the coffee hot, like drinkably HOT, for four hours. If you make a pot in the morning and pour a cup when you get home from work, it’s more warm than cool. I will always seek out this design of coffee pot in the future. It’s worthy of its own Cool Tools writeup.

UPDATE: Dammit! While looking for a link to send you to for this coffee maker, I learned that IT’S BEEN RECALLED BY THE CONSUMER PRODUCTS SAFETY COMMISSION. Dammit! Nevermind everything I said about this particular coffee maker. But I stand by the whole thermal/non-heater-base concept. Mostly because it seems safer. Sort of the opposite of operating a recalled-due-to-electrical-worry coffee maker for several years. I will not say anything “I told you so”-ish about the Made In China origins of this machine. But jeez. (I also found out, per the CPSC, that the thing was only $100 new. Dammit.)

– Dad’s Wooden Cutting Board. Homemade. Beautiful. Laminated (laminated meaning to be stuck together, not laminated like we think of when we think of countertops and stuff that’s cheap) laminated of two different woods. I believe one is oak and one is black walnut. It’s beautiful light and dark strips of wood. And my dad made it for me. Homemade. Local. Awesome. A family heirloom. (He’ll make you one too if you ask nicely.)

Grandma’s Osterizer. I have a blender. It is a chrome and glass hand-me-down, mid-century beauty of a thing. It’s an Osterizer that I inherited from my grandmother. My favorite thing about it, besides the chrome metal base and steel fittings and actual glass pitcher and more-than-likely MITUSA-ness of it and its family hand-me-down-ness, my favorite thing about it is the knob. It doesn’t operate with push buttons, but a knob. Turn it more, it goes faster. Turn it less, it goes slower. Turn it too far less, and suddenly it’s back to behind zero–which on mid-century knob-operated appliances is actually 100%. So that, combined with the fuzzy old cord, makes the thing a little sketchy in CPSC terms, I’m sure. But I don’t blend that often. And I’m usually supervised.

– Pottery Barn dishware. My daily use “china” is from Japan. It was made by Pottery Barn, or at least for Pottery Barn, and I’ve had it for a decade. Not bad. A little chippy. Semi-timeless. Shelley and I decided to hang onto it and register for schmancy stuff. So that’s the plan. If you find the cream-colored Crackle pattern at a rummage sale, please let me know. (Also, as an FYI and reduce/reuse/recycle heads-up, you can buy missing components for your china online at Replacements.com. See?

– Crate and Barrel Mix flatware. What I grew up calling silverware is now called flatware–because even the nice stuff ain’t made with silver any more. Or at least, not the normal nice stuff. I’m sure somebody’s making silver silverware. My stuff is called Mix and I got it because it was simple and affordable and it was (and I think still is) sort of the house brand flatware at Crate & Barrel–meaning I can always pop in when the dryer-sock goblins come for my teaspoons. Which they have. It was made in Japan.

All in all, this random sampling seems tolerably MITUSA-friendly. With homemades and hand-me-downs and (albeit hazardous) used purchases to offset the brand new imports, I’d have to say that my purchases were relatively “Consumption Neutral.” I’m coining that term to turn it into the MITUSA equivalent of “Carbon Neutral.” Maybe I can trademark it.

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