The boy’s got to cook


My only son Benjamin has embarked on a career as a cook at the Old Stove Brewing Company located just below the historic Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington.  So this last Christmas, I got him some of the tools of the trade that any self respecting cook would have in his locker.


That object Ben is grasping in the photo is a knife roll.  Chefs need a means of transporting their knives from home to “the office.”  Ben let me know that he was going to be working full time at Old Stove just before Christmas.  I called his kitchen manager and asked what tools Ben needed for his job.  “Well, he needs a knife roll for sure,” was the advice I got.  When I asked the kitchen manager if he had a favorite knife roll, he said “Well, if you want to get him the best, get him a Hardmill knife roll; they are made over on Roosevelt right here in Seattle!”  Hardmill’s motto is “Durable Goods of Lasting Quality”; I was sold.  I drove to Hardmill and had the great pleasure of meeting Ryan Barrie, the owner of Hardmill.  I got Ben Hardmill’s black waxed denim knife roll; it is very stylish.  For his birthday next month, the Hardmill chef’s apron might be Ben’s birthday gift.



I decided to put two knives into Ben’s Hardmill knife roll.  They needed to be American knives so I went online and ordered a Lamson Santoku knife,lamsom santoku knife

and a Lamson utility knife.

lamson utility_knife

Lamson & Goodnow is the oldest cutlery manufacturer in the United States; they started making knives in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, in 1837.  In 2015, Lamson moved its production facilities a few towns to the south of Shelburne Falls to Westfield, Massachusetts.  About anything you need for when you are in the kitchen, Lamson makes here in America.  I am in the market for a new turner for fish and I think I have found the one I need at the Lamson website.


In Seattle, we have access to lots of yummy seafood and I think I will soon be buying Lamson’s “Seafood Set” which will allow me to dispatch and consume assorted mollusks, bivalves and other sea critters.

seafood set 2


All sorts of interesting stuff resides in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., including an amazing collection of Lamson products.  In 1869, Lamson & Goodnow presented newly elected U.S. president Ulysses S. Grant with a 62-piece dinner set. Half of the handcrafted utensils bore handles of ivory, while the handles on the others were pure mother-of-pearl.  I just finished Ron Chernow’s 970 page tome on Grant, and sadly there was no mention by Chernow of whether the Hero of Appomattox regularly dined with his Lamson and Goodnow table set.  A shocking omission in an otherwise amazing book.  All I can say is that if you are in need of any tools relating to cooking or food preparation, look no farther than Lamson!

How long Mr. Ben will be working in the kitchen is tough to say.  He is a very hard worker, has always found his own jobs and never grips about long shifts in front of the stove.  If you are in Seattle for business or pleasure, consider stopping for a meal at Old Stove Brewing Company.  The food is good, the view is spectacular and the place oozes gemutlichkeit.  The son and heir will be working like a strap in front of the grill during your meal at Old Stove, so let him know you read this post and you will probably get a chuckle out of him and a shake of his head regarding his blog posting father!

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Back in the Saddle


With my book, Simply Americanfinished and published, I plan on getting back to blogging in earnest again.  Look for a about a post a week, on American made products, American jobs and American stories.  I can’t wait to get at it again!

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The Book is finally published!



Well, its been a long time in the writing, about six years I figure, but my book Simply American, was finally published this week.  To be completely accurate, I finally published my book this week on Lulu, a self publishing platform.  If you would like to order a soft copy book, just click on this link to Lulu; you can also order a copy of Simply American as an eBook by clicking on the link above.  Within three weeks, the Simply American eBook will be available on Amazon.

Simply American calls on its readers to support working class jobs in this Country by buying the products already being made by members of our extended American family at thousands of American manufacturing firms.  Seven iconic American consumer goods firms are featured in Simply American:  Allen Edmonds, Crane Paper, Homer Laughlin China Company, Hart Schaffner Marx, Libman, Sub-Zero and Wigwam.

In the next few weeks, I will be taking a Simply American website live and also creating a Simply American Instagram channel.  Starting in January, a Simply American podcast will debut featuring stories of our American brothers and sisters who make quality American made products everyday.

So I would encourage you to order a copy of Simply American.  And I would really encourage you to always look for the American alternative for any product you might need to purchase on your next shopping opportunity.

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Sunday Night Football loves Made in America!


I don’t know about you, but my favorite NFL game of the week is always NBC’s Sunday Night Football with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth.  Visually it is amazing and I like the repartee between Collinsworth and Michaels.  I am not alone in my opinion on this.  But aside from the program’s amazing production values, there is another feature of NBC Sunday Night Football I really love: their consistent focus on American firms making great stuff that Americans like you and I can purchase.  And by purchasing American products, you and I can provide jobs for members of our extended American family.

A couple of Sundays ago, Al and Cris visited Buffalo to broadcast the Bills – Jets game.  The Bills play at New Era Field.  New Era Cap Company purchased the naming rights for the Bill’s stadium last summer.  Not surprisingly, New Era’s amazing caps were featured during the broadcast; shots of local craftspeople sewing the caps were great to see.


What today is New Era was founded in 1920 by German immigrant Ehrhard Koch as e. Koch Cap Co.  Ehrhard got his hat company started by borrowing $5000 from his aunt.  Koch began making caps on the third floor of 1830 Genesee Street, on the corner of Bailey Ave. in Buffalo, N.Y.  Koch’s first 14 employees including Ehrhardt’s sister Rose. Ehrhardt’s son, Harold, and Rose’s son Wally Domas, soon started working there well before graduating from high school. In 1920, the company produced 60,000 caps.  In 1922, Koch renamed his company New Era caps.  Wikipedia has an amazing history on the firm.

Every MLB player wears a New Era cap.  Growing up in California, there was only one New Era cap I would ever be caught wearing.


These days my favored New Era cap is different.


But of course there is one New Era cap I wouldn’t wear even if you gave me one for free.


Every player in the Nippon Professional Baseball league also sports a New Era cap.  Hanshin Tigers cap anyone?


New Era makes great NHL caps that surely would have pleased Bobby Hull,


Bobby Orr,


Gordie Howe,


or Ken Dryden.



A couple of years ago, New Era became the official on-field cap provider for the National Football League.  My New Era NFL lid of choice is obvious.


What’s that emblem on the right side of the New Era Seahawks cap?  Oh yeah, that’s a depiction of the Super Bowl Trophy we won two years ago.  

If you are in the market for a great hat made by Americans in Buffalo, look no further than New Era.  New Era has really lived out its early motto:“Quality First, Quantity Will Follow.”

The other Buffalo manufacturing firm that was featured on NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast a few weeks back was Super Chexx.  Super Chexx make the most amazing table hockey games.

super-chexxThe folks at Super Chexx can allow you to customize your table hockey set to your heart’s content.  Are the Leafs your team of choice?  No problem


Can’t get enough of the Habs/Bruins rivalry?  Super Chexx has got you covered.


So if you want to be the most popular family in your neighborhood, just order up a Super Chexx table hockey unit.  Just make sure you have plenty of refreshments on hand for the hordes of hockey fans that will soon begin showing up at your door.


The NBC Sunday Night Football game this week matches my 4-1 Seattle Seahawks against the 3-3 Arizona Cardinals in Arizona.  I am expecting a win, but regardless it should be a good game.  I wonder what Arizona products Al and Cris might feature this week.  Maybe bags from the Lifetime Leather Company.


Or one of the myriad of other great products made in Arizona and featured on Jim and Laura Hofman’s Arizona page from their great website, State Gifts USA.  So let’s hope for a great game between the Seahawks and the Cardinals, and try to figure out what Al and Kris will get up to during the game.


Hopefully nothing like that.






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Igloo, purveyor of American cold



This summer, my son Ben and I have been doing loads of hiking. Ben is a student at Western Washington University located in Bellingham and has been living up in Bellingham this summer prior to his senior year at Western.  We decided that this summer we wanted to hike in the North Cascades National Park, which is southeast of Bellingham. So we have been hiking a lot this summer.  Our first hike was to Blue Lake off the North Cascades Highway.

blue lake

We saw a family of these guys up above the lake.


Next we drove to the end of the Mount Baker Highway and hiked up the Table Mountain Trail.


Last week, we hiked the Park Butte trail off the North Cascades Highway and it was absolutely spectacular.

Park Butte lake


All these hikes share a few characteristics.  First, they are all in my home State of Washington. Second, I had the great pleasure of being able to enjoy them with my amazing son Benjamin. And third, by the time we got back to the car at the end of the hike, I was so thirsty that I was considering drinking my own urine.  Luckily, I didn’t have to engage in that disgusting task because when we arrived at the car, we were greeted by icy cold beverages.  How you ask did we have access to icy cold beverages since the interior temperature of our car and trunk exceeded the temperature on the surface of the sun?  Our beverages were icy cold because they were tucked inside our Igloo MAXCOLD PLAYMATE ELITE at Target for less than fifteen bucks.

Igloo Playmate Maxcold

Our Igloo Playmate Elite cooler holds 30 cans of pop, is very rugged and is easy to open and close.  Best of all, our Igloo cooler is manufactured by members of our extended American family in Waller County, Texas!  So if you need some cold beverages on a warm day this summer, look no further than Igloo.  You will benefit from cold beverages on a hot day and the American workers at the Igloo manufacturing facility in Texas will benefit from a job that allows them to support themselves, their families and their community.

Now get shopping!





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Makers Row is the only name you need to know to get in the domestic manufacturing game



I have written about Maker’s row in the past.  Ever since I learned about the folks at Maker’s Row a couple of years ago, I have followed their progress closely.  So I was very happy to see the firm and one of its founders, Matthew Burnett, get some great press recently.  If you want to start making a product in the U.S. but don’t know where to start, Maker’s row should be your first stop.

Let’s say you have an idea for a very cool overnight bag.  You pay the Maker’s row measly $20 a month subscription fee and in return you get access to their digital catalog of over 6,000 U.S. manufacturers. For each of those manufacturers you get contact info, reviews, photos and videos showcasing the manufacturer’s capabilities.

I subscribe to the Maker’s row daily update program, and the amount of work they put in creating content and resources that are useful for budding domestic manufacturers is staggering.  For example, in just the last few weeks they have published great articles on the difference between sales and marketing, jumpstarting an apparel brand, and manufacturing 101.  If you want to start manufacturing a consumer product in the U.S., you would be nuts to embark on that quest without partnering with Maker’s row.

So if you are a budding American manufacturer who longs to have your American product made by members of your extended American family, Maker’s row should be your first stop.  For a pittance a month, you can partner with the force in the Made in America movement at work today.  So contact Maker’s row today!  What are you waiting for?










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Marriott’s bold move


Every once in a while, an American firm makes a statement about their support for American manufacturing and American workers.  Such a statement was recently made by Marriott, the iconic American hotel company.  Marriott recently announced that it would be supplying its American hotels with towels made by Standard Textile here in the U.S. Annually, Marriott will be buying 2.6 million bath towels and 4.9 million hand towels made in America, with American cotton, by members of our extended American family. In order to meet this demand, Standard Textile is adding 150 manufacturing jobs at its production facilities in the States.  And according to Abha Bhattarai of The Washington Post, this move will not cost Marriott a dime more than it is paying now.

While Marriott’s decision to support American jobs by buying American made products is huge, it should be just the beginning.  What if all the hotel chains in the U.S. made a similar commitment?  Think how many more manufacturing jobs would be created for members of our extended American family?  So come on Sheraton!  Get with the program Westin!  Don’t be a slacker Hyatt!  If all the other American hotel chains had the commitment to support American workers that Marriott has, lots of Americans, now out of work, would be employed.

The best way to support Marriott’s American made initiative is simple; if you are planning a trip somewhere and need a hotel to stay at during your visit, I got one word for you: Marriott!  If you are traveling on business and the travel planner at your firm books you at a hotel other than Marriott, mention Marriott’s bold program to support American manufacturing and American workers to the hotel’s general manager.  Who knows, you could play a role in that hotel chain getting on board with Marriott’s bold vision to support American workers.  What a deal!

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