If you're going to be looking for American-made serverware like I was a few weeks ago, perhaps I can save you some time in your search. I've known for some time now that often the best thing to do for items such as this in the home is to shop online, but I was out and about on a weekend and decided to give my local Target store a visit. Nothing, however, was made in the United States. Bed, Bath and Beyond offered no American-made wares either.
So, after attempting to disprove my own trusted and time-tested theory on how best to buy American for the kitchen, I decided to shop online at Target. One good thing about Target is that you can often see where the items offered online are made by clicking on "Additional Info" when you have your selected item displayed. And, there are more items available online than there are in the stores.
After searching several brands, it seemed like Corelle was the only brand that offered any serverware made in the USA. The prices are also very reasonable for Corelle kitchenware, and are very competitive compared to other brands.
If you also like your American-made products union made as well, you can take pleasure in knowing that Corelle products (the ones that are made in the USA) are made by the American Flint Glass Workers Union, which merged with the United Steelworkers in 2003.
There is perhaps another point that I should mention: The four 11 oz. mugs that came with my 16-piece set were made in China. This was not evident from the online information, and the box says that the mugs could come from either Taiwan or China (I would have preferred Taiwan). I'm not particularly happy about this important piece of information that was omitted when I was considering my purchase, but in today's global environment, if the majority of any product set is made in the USA and a minority part of that set is made elsewhere, American workers are getting the best part of the deal. And when you consider the other all-imported options, Corelle is clearly the best choice.
Since I've mentioned Target in this article, perhaps it would be a good opportunity to dispel a popular myth that has been circulating around the Internet for quite some time. I would venture to guess that several of those reading this article have received at least one email claiming that Target is owned by the French. I have received several emails from concerned patriotic consumers, asking if the emails are true. The answer is that Target is not owned by French, and as far as I know, has never been anything other than American owned.
If you don't mind spending a little more money, you can check out Homer-Laughlin China at www.hlchina.com. According to their website, Homer Laughlin remains the largest domestic pottery employing over 1100 workers in a 37 acre facility. The products are bit pricier, but you might feel they are also a bit nicer, if you don't mind solid-patterned China.
If you're looking for American-made ovenware, you can find Anchor Hocking or Pyrex in most stores. And if you're looking for American-made kitchen cutlery, accessories and utensils, my favorite is Rada Manufacturing (www.radamfg.com).
So now you know there's no reason for any patriotic consumer to feel they're without American-made options when it comes to the kitchen. There's no reason that any patriotic consumer can't buy American, stay out of Wal-Mart, and not have to worry about buying from a French-owned department store while doing it.
Roger Simmermaker is the author of How Americans Can Buy American: The Power of Consumer Patriotism. He also writes "Buy American Mention of the Week" articles for his website www.howtobuyamerican.com and is a member of the Machinists Union and National Writers Union. Roger has been a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC and has been quoted in the USA Today, Wall Street Journal and US News & World Report among many other publications.