7 Best Casserole Carriers | March 2017
- non-tip carrying handle
- foil-lining for heat retention
- multiple pattern and color options
|Brand||Picnic at Ascot|
- holds two large dishes
- exterior zip pouch for accessories
- good size for wine bottles as well
- exterior slip pocket with velcro closure
- holds 9"x13" casserole dish
- very low price point
- carriers strap together securely
- available in multiple colors, patterns
- can be used separately
Why You Need A Casserole Carrier
With over 20 percent of American families spending more than $200 a week on food, everybody could use recipes that are easy on their wallet. Casseroles are one of the most practical dishes to make when you need to feed a large group of people. They're not only budget-friendly, but they're also easy to whip up and generally loved by all. The casserole's one downfall is that it doesn't travel well from the oven to the picnic table.
You could scoop the contents out of their baking dish, but after putting a tremendous amount of work into chopping the ingredients, mixing the liquids, and waiting for the top to bake to a perfectly brown color, you don't want to destroy your casserole by dividing it into several small to-go containers. This is just one reason you need a casserole carrier, an accessory that can hold your dish, in the platter you baked it in, so you don't need to break it up.
Appearance is only part of the issue when transporting a casserole, of course, since many versions of this dish are best when eaten hot. Most casserole carriers can keep their contents at the desired temperature for an extended period of time. Furthermore, many recipes for this item call for a cream base, but you have to take caution any time you travel with a dairy-based food, since this ingredient, when mishandled, is responsible for many hospital visits. Casserole carriers can keep chilled dairy casseroles cool, so the cream and cheese doesn't warm up, preventing bacteria growth.
Since casserole dishes are typically made from glass or ceramic, even transporting them a short distance without a carrier runs you the risk of dropping and shattering your platter. Casserole carriers are padded, enclosed and typically have handles, to prevent such a disaster from happening. Rather than supporting this large dish with both hands, a casserole carrier can leave you free to carry other supplies.
What To Look For In A Casserole Carrier
Some of the most convenient casserole carriers have more than one compartment, allowing you to bring a side dish or two along with your entree. Ideally, the compartments offer different climates, with one keeping cold food cold, and the other keeping hot food hot. Anytime you cannot eat your food almost immediately after its removal from the oven or refrigerator, keeping it within certain safe temperature ranges is critical to preventing illness.
While you'll do your best to wrap up your food, contents may spill so you should get a casserole carrier with a removable and easy-to-clean liner. Make sure your straps are sturdy and well-padded, in case you plan on toting heavy, over-stuffed casseroles. Some options have outer pockets for you to pack other outdoor eating essentials like plastic silverware and napkins. While most models are designed with standard oven dish sizes in mind, it could help to get a carrier that includes a platter, so you can be certain it fits inside. Make sure your included dish is free of the harmful chemical BPA.
If your casserole carrier is for personal use and social gatherings, there are countless bright and cheery patterns available. That being said, if you are purchasing one for your catering company or delivery service, you may consider a more professional-looking model with solid, dark colors and no flashy prints. Ideally, your casserole carrier unzips completely along the top, making it easy to remove your dish, or even serve your food without taking the platter out at all.
The History Of The Casserole
Today, the casserole is a staple on many American family menus, but this comfort food has its roots in Europe, although it has always been one enjoyed in a communal setting. The name casserole actually translates to saucepan in French. A saucepan can either be used to cook something in, or serve something in, so casserole is an appropriate name for the food we typically bake and serve out of the same dish.
One cannot, however, discuss the history of the casserole without bringing up its predecessor, the cassoulet. The cassoulet has its origins in the 14th century and also involves a revolving mishmosh of ingredients in one large pan. The similarities between the dishes and their names are indisputable. It's said that the cassoulet came to be when the Prince of Wales seized former French province Languedoc. The citizens of the town brought all of their leftover food together to make a giant stew they could share. The stew would go on to be called a cassoulet.
Most food historians believe a French Canadian immigrant first brought the casserole, as we know and love it today, to the United States in the late 1800s. The casserole had undergone some changes by then, though, since earlier versions consisted of a lot of rice, and today cooks favor pasta as the main starch. Casseroles were originally cooked in earthenware, but in the 1950s lightweight cooking ware like Pyrex took markets by storm, and changed the way we make casseroles. Recipes with a long list of ingredients were popular in the 1950s and have led to countless variations of this dish over time.