Taking Food on the Road

When it's time to share a big holiday meal or head to a party, you can often find yourself bringing not just yourselves, but a part of the meal or a special treat as well. When the weather is cool and the car is packed to the brim, bringing a beautifully decorated dessert or a warm casserole gets much more complicated. The movement of the car can cause spills or damage, and temperature can be a big issue. There are some ways to make transporting food easier, and have everyone happy when you arrive!

1. Make sure food is thoroughly sealed in the container you've packed it in. Tinfoil is probably not going to cut it. Transfer your dish to something that has a lid that closes firmly. You can always put it back in the beautiful serving dish once you get there.

2. Consider bringing a hot dish in a crock pot. Even if you didn't make a slow cooker meal to begin with, crock pots are good for reheating most dishes without having to use the hostess's oven or microwave, which may be in short supply. In addition, crock pots have lids that can be taped down, and pack easily into boxes for transport.

3. Use an insulated bag for hot food OR cold food. We all know how to pack a cooler with ice packs, but insulated bags also work well for hot food. Wrap food (sealed!) in foil and then towels to keep as much heat as possible in. In addition, the towels will keep the food from sliding around in the car, and if there ARE any spills, the towels are there to soak up and contain the mess.

4. To keep baked goods looking great, put an empty dish (serving plate, pie plate, casserole sized dish) on top, and rubber band the two together securely before wrapping in foil. This should keep the top from getting crushed or dented. Cake transporters are great, but they can slide around a trunk too. Wrap in a towel and put in a cardboard box.

Once your food has arrived safely, make sure not to create extra work for the hosts! Have the serving dishes and utensils ready (and ideally, labeled with your name) and don't expect to use an oven or assemble anything there. Following these tips can make you a perfect guest!

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