Friday, July 19, 2013

Made in USA

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

And so this week I ran out of toothpicks.  It had been quite a long time since I'd bought any. Years.  Maybe even 5 years because I bought a box at the Dollar Store.  The box had 1500 toothpicks, and until this year, I didn't use more than one or two a week.

(And where did I start using them?  With "pigs in a blanket."  Wrapping puff pastry around cocktail wieners.  Preferably Zswiegle's cocktail hot dogs, which we only seem to be able to buy at holiday time, and let me tell you, next November and December I will be buying MEGA packages of the little doggies and freezing them.  If you've only tried Vienna cocktail wieners or Hillshire Farm cocktail wieners, then you are not eating the best there is ... but that's another story.)

But after so many years I discovered we were almost out of toothpicks.

I don't know about you, but after all the food disasters in China, I distrust anything edible item that comes out of that country. A couple of years ago we went to Sam's Club and found a great price on frozen Atlantic Cod and bought a package.  Except, when we got home and read the fine print, we found that the ATLANTIC COD came from China.  Excuse me, but even I, who am geographically challenged, know that China is nowhere near the Atlantic Ocean. 

We tossed that fish into the trash.

So the other day when I went in search of toothpicks, I decided I would only settle for Made In The USA picks.  And really, if our economy is ever going to recover, don't we NEED to support products made in the USA?

Ah, but the choices were not that great.  My local grocery store had about five different Diamond toothpick products, but only ONE was made in the USA.  They were the multicolored Party Picks.   As these toothpicks are multi-colored, I'm not sure just how safe they are, but I feel better knowing they were made in the USA, where quality control is much stricter.

I've gotten to the point in life where cheap is no longer the criteria for the food I put in my body. The older I get, the more I want to cling to life, and eating stuff from China, where the safety standards are low, if not totally nonexistent  (or genetically modified food from Monsanto), just doesn't cut it for me.  Every summer I try to grow at least a tiny portion of my own food because I know it won't have pesticides or any other contaminants in it.  (And what I don't eat, I freeze for the winter.)

I did pay more for the toothpicks.  About a dollar more than I would have paid at the dollar store, but you know what?  My peace of mind is worth a lot more than a buck.  And if my tiny purchase could keep one American worker in a job for even one minute, it was well worth it.

How have you supported our economy by buying American?