I'm talking today about my favorite American made seasonings and spice mixes. I’m one of those people who cooks for my family just about every evening. I do it not to win the housewife of the year award, but because it’s healthier and cheaper than eating out or picking up pre-made.

Now, lest you think for one minute that my peeps are eating four star every evening, they are not. Like all of you who cook, I, too, face the challenges of the rut and the humdrum. To keep my cooking interesting, I depend on the others’ talents, and provide them space in my kitchen. Today I have three seasoning blends I love, and they are all made in North Carolina.

As an example, about 10 years ago, I stumbled upon Pluto’s All-Natural Jamaican Seasonings, named for company founder Pluto Richards. This made-in-North Carolina line of sauces and spices reflects the owner’s Jamaican childhood and influences, and is based on recipes used by his grandmother. With names like Paradise Potion and Caribbean Bliss, you’re sure to fall in love.

My family fell in love with Pluto's, so much so that when we traipsed to another continent in 2010 for several years, Pluto’s came with us.

When I packed up and moved overseas, a limited number of made-in-the-USA items were deemed worthy to make the trip with us: Bob’s Red Mill baking powder, Emergen-C, Pluto’s, Zing Sauce and Kerala Curry. I chose products for which there is no substitute. True.

I needed baking powder for homemade chocolate chip cookies. I chose Emergen-C to keep my immune system happy, and because the company supports our vets (plug: I, too, thank our veterans).

Pluto’s, Zing Sauce and Kerala Curry are three exotic “just can’t live withouts” that are made in North Carolina.

These spices and condiments – Jamaican, Malaysian and South Indian, respectively – were invited because my family loves the taste and I love the ease of use. Cooking with them is as simple as shaking them onto or adding them into whatever it is that you are preparing. I don’t exaggerate when I write that you are limited only by your imagination.

Pluto’s exotic blends of herbs and spices, Kerala Curry’s authentic Indian seasonings, and Zing’s sweet peppery sauce transform the simplest dishes into something magical, and are perfect for whatever’s on the menu: poultry, beef, seafood, veggies, tofu, beans, potatoes, soups, sauces and more, even last night’s leftovers!

I’ve used all three of them to roast, grill, steam, and slow cook. I’ve even roasted a Thanksgiving turkey with Pluto’s and every bite was deliciously unforgettable (my guests said so, I promise). Also important, discerning consumer that I am, all three are all-natural, MSG-free, and contain no artificial flavors, preservatives or additives. And when I cook with these spices, I get rave reviews.  Bon appétit.

A native Washingtonian who’s lived hither and yon, Marie Maguire is a marketing communications professional who eschews the limelight, preferring to seek shelter behind the newsletters, brochures, speeches, blog texts, media releases, etc. she writes for and about other people and organizations.

Marie was delighted to find USA Love List and, when gift giving or shopping, is thrilled to support the many fine American businesses featured on the site. She’s equally excited about highlighting some of the wonderful Made in USA products she stumbles across in her daily life.