It’s fall in Kansas City, and ‘tis the season for tailgates, chili cookoffs, family potlucks, school parties — and that unfortunate reality of transporting all that food: spills in your car, which lead to funky smells. Even if you’re not taking each turn like Dale Earnhart Jr., food spillage can seem inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Read on for our advice on how to prevent spills, protect your car, and have more of that homemade goodness to enjoy.
Put a lid on it — and secure it
From casseroles to chili pots, put a lid on it! It sounds simple, but not only does it keep your food hot but it will help prevent spills as well. But don’t stop there! A dish with a lid can still slide around and spill. There are a couple of ways to do this.
Grab a handled basket and line it with towels, then nestle your dish or pot down in the basket. Add additional rolled-up towels to pad any space between the sides of the basket to keep things from shifting around. Then set the basket in the floorboard of your car where it should fit snugly. If it does still spill, the towels will soak up the leak — not your car’s carpeting.
You can also invest in an inexpensive travel casserole dish. These “casserole keepers” range from $20 – $40, are insulated, zip up around your dish, and have carry handles. Simply slide whatever side you’re toting inside, zip it up, and transport it to your destination without worry. You can still line your floorboard with a towel or too for extra insurance against spills.
Taking your whole slow cooker? Again, there are a couple of ways you can manage against spills. If you know you’ll be toting your crock pot around often, make sure that when you buy it, you buy one with a locking lid.
But you can — and should — also use the basket method with slow cookers, whether or not you have a locking lid. Employ a basket with taller sides, pad the sides to keep it from moving, and lay it in the floorboard on top of some more towels.
What about your famous apple pie? One harsh turn, and it can end up all over the place, ruining your hard work and your car’s upholstery. Just like casseroles, pie carriers are an easy investment to make — many of them even include built-in servers! These can be insulated or not; handled or not, but they will all make your life easier and tidier.
Coolers are another great way to transport your food. Even if you’re only taking one or two items and aren’t filling up the entire cooler, they’ll keep your dishes hot or cool and contain any spillage inside, making clean-up far easier.
Slow it down
Our final tip is good advice for any situation: slow down, and drive carefully. Don’t take turns too fast or too widely, and be mindful of your precious cargo, whether that includes your kids, your pets, your friends, or your food!