“Why don’t you post about things made in the US?” my friend Sharon suggested. She’d had a frustrating afternoon, searching for some specific items on-line, that were both within her budget and made in the US.
“I ‘ll think about it as I ride my Italian bike with its Dutch components or drive my Japanese car,” I emailed her back. In a later phone call, I empathized. “Try at least to shop locally,” I offered.
While supporting small stores in your hometown doesn’t guarantee you’re buying made in the USA, the gesture helps the mom & pop shops generate some holiday dough, hopefully keeping fewer storefronts from closing.
In my town alone, there are about 20 vacant stores. We’re less than a mile from a huge high-end mall, and close to divided highways offering all the big-box brands. No shortage of shopping options.
With the economy the way it is, I figured everyone would be making orange-clove pomanders.
But pre- holiday sales seem to be strong.
Here are two of my favorite gifts—guaranteed made in the US (my NJ kitchen):
I was an AFS student to Tasmania, Australia in the summer of 1974, before I entered college. I brought back this recipe, which became a family favorite and a popular gift for others. The cookies, or biscuits, commemorate the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landing at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915.
They’re easy to make: one bowl does it all.
1 cup sugar (you can cut a bit)
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup flour (I use ½ whole wheat, ½ white)
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
½ lb shortening- margarine, Promise, etc. butter not really needed
1 tb. Golden Syrup (a British sugar syrup, I use corn syrup)
Preheat oven to 325. Melt shortening with syrup over low flame. Boil some water at the same time. When it boils add the baking soda to about ½ cup of water.
Mix all dry ingredients together, add melted ingredients, vanilla, and baking soda/water mixture. Lightly grease baking trays—I use spray-on stuff. Drop batter with a teaspoon, about 2 inches apart—they spread.
1 lb pecan halves
¾ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinammon
1 cup sugar
1 egg white
1 Tbs. water
Beat water and egg white until frothy, not stiff. Stir in sugar, salt and cinammon. Add pecans and stir well until coated. Spread nuts on baking sheet and bake at 200 for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 – 20 minutes. Cool, store in airtight container. (I’ve frozen these and they last for months. I pack them into cellophane gift bags, add a ribbon, and gift tag or sticker. Perfect teacher presents!)
What are your favorite homemade gifts?