Transporting Food to Your Holiday Parties

Transporting Food

It's that time of year again - whether it's contributing to a family dinner, a pot luck party, or even a gift, transporting food without ruining either the food or the car can be tricky. `You don't want to create more work for the host by needing to heat or chill a dish. You should arrive with the food at the right serving temperature, in a dish it can be served in.  A long or short drive can be enough to wreck a dish, so planning the transport is as important as planning the dish.

Hot Dish: The best way to transport a hot dish in the car is a cardboard box and bath towels. After wrapping the dish in foil or other wrap, place it in the box on top of a towel and pack rolled and folded towels around. The towels will help keep the food warm, and the packed towels will stop the dish from slipping or spilling, and if something does slosh, the towel will absorb it.

Bite Sized Food: I always bring the appetizer, so I've had to find ways to keep things like stuffed mushrooms or pastry bites looking presentable after a long drive. Last year, I found this tip and it worked so well. Put a kitchen towel on a baking sheet and affix it with masking tape. Arrange the individual bite sized food on the towel and wrap the entire thing tightly with plastic wrap. To keep the package from sliding around, put a non skid mat (the kind you'd put under an area rug) in the trunk and place the baking sheet on that.

Pie: You don't want to destroy the top, whether it's crumble or fluted, and that is really easy to do. No matter how well you wrap it, one bump and it's a mess. If you're taking a crumb crust pie (or even something like a cheesecake or cream pie), take an empty pie plate and invert it on top of the pie. Tape the plates together and wrap both with foil, making sure they're tight together. If it's a fluted crust, place the pie plate on a baking sheet with a piece of foam to keep it stable (double stick foam works well), put a large bowl on top and tape the bowl in place.

Cold Food: Newspapers make great insulation. Seal the container you're transporting, and place it in an insulated bag, cooler, or cardboard box. Pack it tightly with crumpled newspaper and ice packs. The newspapers will absorb the condensation and keep the food cold.

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