How to Safely Travel with the Holiday Feast
At some point, we’ve all been tasked with the thankless Thanksgiving job of holding a casserole dish overflowing with piping-hot buttery potatoes on our laps while speeding down the highway over the hills and through the woods to Grandmother’s house. And how about getting all those leftovers home after Thanksgiving dinner?
To help you and your family out this Thanksgiving, here are our Xpert Tips to safely and cleanly transport your Thanksgiving feast in the car.
Piping-hot casserole dishes can literally be a pain to the person holding them in their lap in the car. Placing the casserole dish on the floor rather than on someone’s lap isn’t much better. Do you really want to be cleaning stuffing out of your car’s carpet and floor mats for the next three months?
Instead, invest in a travel casserole dish (Pyrex sells a casserole dish, a secure rubber lid, a microwaveable gel pouch for $14 at Target). This will help keep the goodies hot on the road and an insulated carrying case.
If you don’t have a travel casserole dish and don’t want to invest in one, you can use a casserole dish with a lid and secure the lid to the dish’s handles with two rubber bands. If your casserole dish has a lid, wrap it in plastic wrap first and then place the lid on top for an extra-secure seal. For pies, don’t be afraid to wrap up the whole pie, around the pan and all, just in case there’s leakage. Don’t be afraid to double or triple wrap it so you know nothing is going to spill out.
Now to transport it, you don’t want it to be loose on the car’s floor. If you have to brake quickly, the casserole dish could become a dangerous projectile.
Instead, try securing your travel casserole dish in your car’s trunk, safely away from the passenger compartment. Use a towel and a box/laundry basket to keep it from sliding around. The basket can be stashed snugly on the floor behind the driver’s seat or even better yet. If the dish happens to have a leak during transport, the towels will soak up any messes.
Slow cookers with locking lids are the best option for transporting food in the car and will help keep any leaks or spills from getting on your fabric upholstery. If you are like me and don’t have a slow cooker with a locking lid, I have found a rope works good too but you will want to wrap it with plastic wrap to keep anything from spilling out.
Tinfoil is your best friend when transporting pies. If you’re transporting just one pie, take an extra metal pie tin, flip it upside down and use it to tent the pie. Then seal the edges of the two pie tins together with a strip of tinfoil. To transport two pies, place them side by side on a baking sheet, wrap tinfoil around the pies and baking sheet, and then secure the tinfoil around the baking sheet’s edges.
All Those Yummy Leftovers
If you’re going to take some goodies back home, be prepared and arrive with your own plastic storage containers and zip-close plastic bags rather than having your granny dig some up for you and the rest of your finicky family. Pack a load of disposable plastic containers in a reusable fabric bag. You can pack the containers full and have a convenient tote at the ready to carry them to the car.
Use the bungee-secured laundry basket you used earlier to transport your pie and casserole dish to dinner to then get your leftovers home.
I cannot reiterate this enough, keep food dishes in the truck. If a accident were to happen, those food items and containers are not strapped down and will easily become a projectile in the vehicle and will seriously injure someone. Items in the vehicle could strike at about 30 times the amount that they weigh. Not to mention, that hot dish you are trying to keep warm could burn someone.
I know just having a passenger holding a dish may seem like a great idea, but you have to keep about what will happen if an airbag goes off. In most cases, the airbag will come out at a speed of between 100 to 220 miles per hour. You do not want a hot or glass dish on your lap with that happens.
Be safe, store as much as you can in your trunk and if you have to store something in a backseat, keep it on the floor and strapped down.