Everyone wants to support local business as much as possible, and we all know how hard it is nowadays to find something actually made in our country, not just assembled here. A lot of brands will make a few items here and the rest in other countries, so it’s hard to keep track. While this list should be complete, please do let me know if you know any dirty little trickery that one of these brands might be trying to pull over on us consumers! Of course the best course of action is looking at the box, but even then it might not tell the whole story.
MADE IN THE USA!
All-Clad** – Canonsburg, PA – The majority of All-Clad pots and pans are made in the USA. However, the lids and accessory pieces are manufactured in China. Accessory pieces include utensils, certain specialty pieces, and any of the stockpots over 16 quarts in size (because you can’t clad anything larger than a 16 quart!!). Generally these pieces come in black boxes, but not always. (Normally the boxes are white.)
*Appliances from All-Clad are made in China!!
Anchor Hocking – Lancaster, OH – Very sturdy glassware, glass bakeware, candle holders, serveware, canisters, etc. Since 1905; second-largest glass supplier in the US.
*Prior to 2008 some of the plastic lids were not manufactured in the USA, but now they all are.
Calphalon** – Toledo, OH – The bulk of Calphalon’s products are still made in the USA, but it’s very hard to decipher on their website. A request sent in to Calphalon let me know that their aluminum products are still made in the USA. This includes their Williams Sonoma, Target & Walmart hard-anodized products; Unison, Elite, Simply Calphalon, Kitchen Essentials, and Cooking with Calphalon.
Enclume – Port Hadlock, WA – French metal-forming equipment yields beautiful metal pot racks, kitchen furniture/accessories, and fireplace/hearth accessories.
Epicurean – Duluth, MN – Eco-friendly compressed wood cutting boards eliminate the care associated with wood surfaces. Dishwasher-safe and no oil required!
Fat Daddio’s – Spokane, WA – “Safe-Seal” anodized aluminum bakeware, which also happens to be one of the most highly rated brands, particularly among professionals.
Fiesta Dinnerware – Newell, WV – High-fired, sturdy dinnerware and bakeware since 1936. Lead-free since 1986.
J.K. Adams – Dorset, VT – Quality wooden cutting boards, spice racks, wine racks, rolling pins and other entertaining products.
John Boos – Effingham, IL – Beautiful, thick wood cutting boards that are preferred by most professionals and found in many commercial kitchens, as well as wood and metal work carts, countertops/surfaces, shelves/racks and other kitchen furniture. High standards of sustainability in their foresting practices, as well.
Lodge – South Pittsburg, TN – Cast iron cookware since 1896.
*Enameled cast iron from Lodge uses enamel made in China. (Le Creuset & Staub, two French lines of enameled cast iron, use French-made enamel.)
Nordic Ware – Minneapolis, MN – Creator of the Bundt pan, and along with now offering many new Bundt shapes, they produce other bakeware, cookware, microwave cookware, and grill products. Highly sustainable; BPA-free, melamine-free, and nonstick coatings are water-based.
Pyrex – Charleroi, PA – The original strong glass bakeware and kitchen accessories.
Rogar – Petersburg, VA – Quality metal pot racks, wine racks, spice racks, and wine openers.
USA Pans – KS – High-quality metal bakeware and cookware. Cookware is 5-ply clad stainless (just like All-Clad), and the bakeware has AMERICOAT Plus silicone coating that is a clear nonstick free of PTFE’s and PFOA’s. Bakeware also has a corrugated/fluted design to prevent sticking and is used widely commercially.
Vitamix – Cleveland, OH – Uniquely patented blending products, considered to be the most powerful on the market and used commercially by many restaurants and professionals.
William Bounds – Torrance, CA – Pepper, salt and spice grinders/mills that have a special patented mechanism that actually crushes the pepper, which is the proper way to do it. Thus their slogan, “We’ve got a crush on pepper”!
NOT QUITE MADE IN THE USA…
I know I put a few exceptions in the top portion already, but I feel these are a little more obviously not made in the United States, yet worth mentioning.
Microplane – All Microplane blades are made in the USA, however the materials for the various handles are outsourced. Everything needing piecing together is assembled in Mexico. Therefore, if you were to buy the basic handle-less Classic Zester, you would be buying a product fully from the US.
Assembled in the USA: Kitchen Aid stand mixers. Parts come from various countries. The all-metal pasta attachments are still made in Italy, which is notable. They slap a flag sticker on the boxes that say “assembled in the USA” but people don’t read it and assume they are made here.
This can sometimes be tricky nowadays, since a lot of couples are already living together for quite some time before tying the knot. A lot of people are fearful of straying from the bridal registry wish lists because of that. If that is the case, I recommend not waiting until the last minute because items in your price range might all get grabbed by other people by the time you get around to shopping!
If you pay attention to their wish list, you can generally get an idea of any color schemes they are going for. Ask a sales clerk to show you some of the linens that another person already purchased so you can find them something unique that still matches their theme. Believe me, couples LOVE when their family and friends think outside of the box and put extra thought into their gifts.
The items I am listing here are classic gifts that no sane couple would say no to, and will often impress them compared to what they have put on their bridal registry. Avoid gadgets or appliances that seem like a fad and/or something they might use once and shove in a cupboard and sell in a yard sale years later. You want to get them something they will treasure and want to keep for a lifetime, and they will always think of you when they use it, of course!
I am also listing higher quality items that they probably already registered for, but since you are an avid reader of this blog, you might notice that what they’re asking for won’t last them as long as some of my recommendations, or if they aren’t sure what brand is best for them.
Riedel Wine Glasses – These glasses are for serious wine drinkers who aren’t clumsy! Riedel glasses are tasting glasses, made from real lead crystal (yes, you can make music on the rims!). They are definitely not dishwasher safe and are very fragile. It’s also good to know what style of wine your newlyweds prefer so you can get a glass that fits what they drink most, since these are tasting glasses and are very specific to the wine. Their stemless “O” series wine glasses are stronger and dishwasher safe, so that might be a fun, but still fancy, alternative.
Schott Zweisel Wine Glasses – The majority of Schott Zweisel wine glasses being sold in retail stores now are all titanium enforced, but it never hurts to double-check the label. These bad boys are strong! You can bang them together pretty forcibly and they will not break, so these are great for boisterous toasting! Also dishwasher safe and made in Germany. These are a little more expensive than regular wine glasses, but less expensive than Riedel; and the ‘bang’ test really impresses EVERYONE! (*Bonus tip for Oregonians – they make a special Oregon Pinot glass, the only time they’ve ever made a glass specific to a region!!*)
Wine Accoutrements – While we’re talking about wine, let’s look at some wine tools!
Decanter – A glass decanter has different shapes for wine or liquor . A wine decanter will have no lid, as its not used for storage like a liquor one would be. It will have a skinny neck that opens into a wider base, normally.
Aerator – This is a device you can pour your wine through into a decanter to help speed up the aeration process after opening a bottle of wine, versus having to swirl it around in individual glasses to increase the oxygen exposure.
Vinturi – A revolutionary little tool, this is a newer form of a wine aerator that allows you to pour directly through the gadget and into your glass. No downtime! Normally you don’t have to decant white wines, but the Vinturi works so well that they recommend using it on whites, too. If your newlyweds are big into white wine, consider getting the one they created specifically for whites – it’s ever so slightly different!
Lever Wine Opener – A lever-style wine opener is a more expensive, but easier way to get your cork out. The devices are pretty large, but make the task practically effortless. The most well-known brand name for a lever-style wine opener is the Rabbit; the highest quality (with the best warranty and easier-to-find replacement parts) brand name is Screwpull. Screwpull is actually under the Le Creuset umbrella. Most people usually don’t have issues, but some of the less expensive brands (and by that I mean in the $40-50 price range; a lot of these can be over $100) specifically state on the packaging that they are not intended for use on synthetic corks and can break.
Foil Cutter – If the wine opener you are purchasing doesn’t already come with one, this can be a handy little gadget to get past that layer and on to the cork!
Wine Charms – Cute little markers for wine glasses so guests can keep track of whose glass is whose.
Wine Stoppers – Decorative stoppers are always a nice touch, but in my personal experience, nothing works to actually stop the wine so you can lay the bottle on its side in a rack. The Vacuvin vacuum sealer pump is very inexpensive and a highly rated ‘must-have’ gadget. You can buy replacement corks (the pump comes with one) for about $5 for a set of two.
If your couple is truly into wine, there are so many more accouterments you can consider, like wine racks, refrigerators, or journals. The possibility of gadgets is really quite extensive! I’m not going to list them all here, what’s listed above are the basic ‘essentials’.
Bar Accouterments – I suppose I should also mention bar accouterments, too!
Classic Bar Tool Set – You can find a plethora of different sets that will include some combination of a cocktail strainer, a double jigger, bottle opener, stirrer, ice tongs, and a citrus slicing knife… You can also consider buying these pieces individually based on what types of beverages your newlyweds like to concoct! Of course there’s this cool Bar10der all-in-one tool to consider, too.
Cocktail Shaker – Sometimes you can find these with a built-in measuring jigger as part of the lid. Oggi also makes this cool one that comes with a glass (with recipes printed on it!) that has a silicone seal to make drink mixing even easier!
Riedel Single-Malt Whisky/Whiskey Glass – For the serious whiskey drinker in your life, grab a set of these beautiful glasses, which bring out the full flavor of that expensive bottle of liquor he enjoys. Approved by a panel of Scotch whisky experts and master distillers in Scotland!
Whiskey Stones – Milled from a particular type of soapstone found in Vermont, this is a centuries-old Scandinavian way of keeping your liquor cool while avoiding watering down your beverage as normal ice would.
Alright, moving out of the bar area…
Epicurean Cutting Board – I cannot say enough good things about these cutting boards. They are wood, but compressed wood, which means they can go in the dishwasher and get washed with soap; and you don’t have to oil it!! They are thin, so very easy to store, too. And made in Seattle, Washington!
Electric Espresso Machine – If you get them the best one (assuming they are connoisseurs), yours will be the one they don’t return. Otherwise, I would file this in the “Don’t Buy” category down below. And by best one, I mean Nespresso. If they aren’t that into coffee, don’t buy them a little espresso machine because they will never use it. And it’s a sure bet that they will be gifted a a couple of Keurig machines, so don’t even bother!
Quality Chef Knife – Okay, maybe it’s time to grow up and get a really nice everyday knife or two. Read my “Buying Knives” blog to learn what might work best for your friends. Stray from their wish list if it looks like they don’t know what they are asking for – they will be thankful that you did!
Quality Cookware – If your newlyweds are in search of a nice new set of cookware but aren’t sure what to get, read my “Buying Cookware” blog to get some ideas based off of what type of cooks they are or aim to be! A Le Creuset enameled cast iron oval or round oven will be a treasure they keep and cherish for a lifetime, of course.
Flatware – Flatware can be a touchy subject, so if they’ve chosen something already, stick with it. If they don’t have a preference, the world is your oyster! 18/10 steel is usually standard but not always, so make sure it is!!
Ceramic Dinnerware – Read my “Ceramic Dinnerware” blog for ideas on what brands to consider!
Tea Kettle – A really nice, classic-looking teakettle will last them a lifetime and probably live on their stovetop, so it will always remind them of you! I’m partial to a few by Chantal since they are made from the same material as their cookware, which means they also have a lifetime warranty like the cookware does. The Classic model has a timeless look but more importantly, a Hohner harmonica whistle, which just sounds beautiful when the water’s ready! I also like the Loop kettle because the trigger to lift the lid is in the handle.
Soda Stream – This is a fun gift that they probably wouldn’t think to ask for, and it’s not quite made it to the “Don’t Buy” list just yet. I’m sure in another decade that will change, but for now, get them something that’s a fun treat! Make sure to get a sample pack of flavors if you can!
Ice Cream Maker – most couples get 3-6 of these per wedding. I’m not kidding! Whenever I did bridal registry returns there was always at least one, or else they’d mention they had to return one to a competitor store, haha!
Waffle Maker – see “Ice Cream Maker”
…and like I mentioned above, pretty much any single-use “fad” appliance is probably just going to sit in a cupboard unused. Unless you know they want it!!
Keurig – I already explained this above, if they are a coffee connoisseur, impress them with a Nespresso machine. Otherwise, forget about coffee and look for something else!
I will admit to you that a lot of issues with kitchen wares arise out of putting them in the dishwasher. I grew up without a dishwasher, so I’m pretty great at hand washing them and don’t have an issue doing them that way. I’m also pretty fast at it so it doesn’t take up hours of my day.
I have used dishwashers since then. I’ve known people to have lovely looking dishes come out of theirs. I’ve lived with people who bought cheap dishwasher soap that didn’t work and had nightmarish issues with them at jobs. But now that I understand them a little bit more, how various products react in them, and have been using one in my own home a little more regularly – I have learned to stop worrying and love using my dishwasher!
Don’t put things in the dishwasher that aren’t dishwasher safe. They usually say that for a reason.
Cheap plastics leach BPA, some ceramics aren’t strong enough to handle bumping each other with the shaking motion of the washer, and certain finishes can’t handle the harsh environment, etc.
Pans on the bottom, plastic on the top. Some items will specify they are top-rack only. The heating element in the dishwasher is on the bottom, so this is to keep the item away from the heat.
Do not lay knives down on the top rack! If they don’t fit in the utensil holder, hand wash them.
Wood does not ever go in the dishwasher. (Epicurean brand can because it’s a special compressed wood that is dishwasher safe.)
Dishwashers get EXTREMELY hot, so that’s the reason a lot of items can’t go in them in the first place. They are the problem with plastic leaching BPA, so if you don’t have a dishwasher you really don’t need to worry about it. Plastic baby bottles are almost never dishwasher safe and unfortunately a lot of parents try putting them in on “sanitize mode” which is usually the hottest setting on the dishwasher. Not a good idea!
I have overcome this issue by sticking to the lower-level settings on my dishwasher. I have a couple of settings above “normal wash” and I have never touched them. If you have anything dirtier than that it’s not even worth trying in the dishwasher, in my opinion. Whatever is stuck to the pan will just get baked on inside of the machine.
Which brings me my next tip – turn off the “heated dry” setting if your dishwasher allows you to. This is just a waste of electricity (in my opinion!) that literally just bakes the dishes after they are washed, so if anything is still stuck to them, it just got baked on harder. The dishes are hot and usually still moist anyway if you do use it, so what I do is turn it off and when the wash cycle is over I just open it up and pull the racks out so they can air-dry. The plastic storage stuff doesn’t seem to dry well so I pull them out and put them in the counter dish rack to dry. Of course this is easiest when done later in the evening so they can dry overnight.
Your dishwasher shakes. A lot. Think about your dishes getting bumped around into each other inside of that thing for an hour while it runs. This is why ceramic dishes chip in the dishwasher, because they bump edges with each other. Same with your nonstick finish, if something is bumping into it in the same spot over and over – chipping. I worry about my ceramic bowls even though I put them on the top shelf and they are a really good brand name, so I put the dishwasher safe plastic items between all of the ceramic items to try to avoid them bumping into each other.
The worst is if you put your sharp knives flat on the top rack – they shake and cut into the plastic rungs. This is what causes your flatware to rust, when the plastic coating is exposed inside of your dishwasher. You can sometimes remove this staining with Barkeeper’s Friend but usually you will end up having to replace all of your flatware and also replacing the racks inside of your dishwasher, which is very costly.
As I already said, if my pans are really dirty, I just resolve to hand washing them. I let them soak overnight and wash them with any other items I have that are not dishwasher safe. Sometimes you can get away with scrubbing the pan with a dish brush or a scrub sponge and getting all the big stuff off of it so it is dishwasher-ready, however. I pretty much end up cleaning them first if I do this because if anything is stuck to the pan, it will be baked on in the dishwasher, usually. And if it does come out this way, dirty, resign yourself to hand washing them at that point – putting them in for another dishwasher cycle will not get it off!
My motto is, “If you love it, hand wash it,” so even a lot of the things I own that are dishwasher safe – I still hand wash. Some items I will throw in the dishwasher every now and again and it’s not the end of the world, but some little thing will happen that reminds me that I do indeed love it and I better wash it by hand next time. And actually, sometimes putting your stainless steel Kitchen Aid mixer bowl or stainless pot in the machine actually helps bring back its luster – just not every time so I only do it every handful of uses. One of my dearest kitchen store friend (and mentor) had the best saying about dishwashers: “It’s called a dishwasher for a reason. It’s not a pots and pans washer. It’s not a glassware washer.” So keep that in mind when putting items other than dishes in that machine, even if it does have special settings for those other things.
Speaking of glassware, I don’t put anything with a painted design in the dishwasher, nor any stemware. If you have really inexpensive, sturdy stemware like Libbey, that will probably hold up. Anything shaped like a martini glass is just asking to break because of the bumping. Luckily most stemware is too tall for most dishwashers unless you purchase one that has specific glassware settings. Use at your own risk! I find that the glassware tends to come out with a teensy bit of spotting, but maybe that’s because I don’t steam clean them afterwards with the “heated dry” setting!
If you just can’t stand to hand wash, make sure you read the labels of what you’re buying and avoid items that aren’t dishwasher safe. There are still kitchen items that you cannot find dishwasher safe, and I’m sorry, you’re just either going to have to not use it, hand wash it, or buy really cheap so you can afford to keep replacing it because you put it in the dishwasher anyway. 😛 (Meat tenderizer is the item I know you can’t find as dishwasher safe. Even the OXO one can’t go in there – it’s a kind of metal that will oxidize. All the generic metal meat tenderizers I have seen are the same kind of metal so there must be a reason for it.)
My last tip will be on dishwasher detergent. The only thing I have found to work almost all the time are the Cascade dishwasher pacs. They now make a few different versions of this, and I find the Cascade Complete work the best. (Although now there is a “platinum” version I will have to try!)
Just use your best judgement, and the dishwasher can be a great help in your kitchen without costing you a fortune in replacement costs if you’re smart about how you utilize it. Of course spending the extra money for more durable kitchen wares always helps, but clearly we can’t always afford that. So the Dollar Tree items…those get hand washed in my house. 😉