This summer while visiting my dad, I had a chance to go to the heart of cast iron cookware in the United States: the Lodge Outlet in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee. (No, I do not have a relationship of any kind with Lodge; I just like their American-made, last-several-lifetimes products.) The Lodge Outlet is located on the edge of the Appalachian Mountains, near Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama. It’s right where Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia come together. Its location no doubt was influenced by its proximity to the Tennessee River and the iron-producing region of the South that stretches from Chattanooga to Birmingham. Lodge has been manufacturing here for more than a century, and Lodge’s products will last for centuries if you take care of them, making them some of the most eco-friendly housewares available.
And they carry a lot of enameled cast iron now too, although I think it’s made in China instead of in the US like everything else in the outlet. I love the colors, but I try to avoid Chinese products.
The outlet room is less pretty (thus no photo), but it’s my absolute favorite, because everything is at a really good price. It’s tempting, and you know you’re getting a good deal. And then your cart will start to look like this:
Great! I’ll keep shopping. And then you get to the check-out counter and discover if you spend six more dollars, you’ll get twenty dollars worth of merchandise for free. And you do. And then your cart looks like this:
I’m not a “shopper” by nature, but I have a really hard time restraining myself at the Lodge Outlet.
Some of the things I bought are for gifts, like these 2-and 3-quart Dutch ovens, which will be wedding gifts. They were half price but aren’t seconds; Lodge is just changing the design slightly. I love the idea of giving an enduring gift like a Dutch oven to a couple who likes to cook and eat; they can pass it down to their children and their children’s grandchildren.
I bought some things to keep too–shhhhhhhh. Don’t tell Mr. Homesteader. I’ve already used them around him, but I don’t think he’s recognized that they’re new. Check out this great Dutch oven or skillet lid that doubles as a skillet itself but will also fit in the toaster oven, so I can make my deep-dish whole-grain pizza in the summer without heating up the whole house. Of course, I also really like small cast iron for when you’re not cooking for a whole crew. Check out my papa bear lid/skillet with my new baby skillet and lid.I have used this little fry pan so many times since I brought it home.
The lid that fits the little skillet also fits this nifty little pot with legs. I picked up two of them as my freebees, but I wish now I’d gotten more. They’ll be perfect for making individual servings of the chili-cheese-cornbread bake this fall and winter.
I also got two more of these wonderful cast-iron plates that work for fajitas, for starting fish on the stove top and then finishing in the oven, and for smaller versions of my thinner-crust whole-grain pizza. I think these “plates” are indispensable, especially with the walnut charger, which makes it so easy to go from oven or stovetop to table.
And I got a couple of more things that were neither wedding gifts nor for me. They’re a gift for one of you, my dear readers. And they weren’t on sale or from the seconds area, but that’s okay, because months ago I said that a camping Dutch oven would be my first giveaway. Watch for me to post it tonight or tomorrow morning! I didn’t want readers to miss it in this long post.
Do you have a favorite outlet for an American-made product that warms the cockles of your heart? Have you ever been to the Lodge Outlet?
Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader, including photographs.