Photo credit: StockFood/Michael Wissing
Here’s the thing: Basically nothing that’s survived a trip from your kitchen, into some Tupperware, down the road in the backseat, and onto a platter in someone else’s kitchen is going to be as good as something that goes right from oven to table. Sorry. But, if you’re part of a potluck Easter supper, it’s still going to be good. Great, in fact.
These hacks will help you be sure of that, plus there’s not one piece of specialty gear in the mix.
Call your host and ask what burners and ovens will be available for re-heating things. Also ask about equipment and serving dishes; if your host doesn’t have enough, you’ll need to bring your own. Add that to the pile!
For bite-sized appetizers like crostini, line a sheet pan with a kitchen towel—it will act as an anchor—and then place the food on top of it. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap. If you have multiple sheet pan’s worth of food and limited space, you can stack the pans. Start the same way—pan, towel, food—then top it with an inverted sheet pan, says Rhoda Boone, a food stylist who has lots of experience transporting food from a working kitchen to a shoot set. Then tightly bind with plastic wrap around the entire thing. You can stack multiples of those on top of one another.
For soups, hot or cold, cook them, cool them, and pack them in containers. Transport the cold soup in a cooler with an ice pack. The hot soup can stay at room temperature; just bring a saucepan to rewarm it in.
Wash and dry your greens—you want them bone dry—wrap in dry paper towels and place in a zip-top plastic bag. Keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to go, then transport the bag to a cooler with an ice pack.
The dressing, made at home, can be transported at room temperature in a bottle or a Mason jar that you can shake vigorously to recombine. Toss the greens just before serving. And again, “Don’t assume your host is going to have salad bowl for you to use,” says Boone.
Ham and lamb both taste great at room temperature, which is good news for your Easter meal. Roast them at home, let them cool, and transport them whole to retain moisture. (You’ll slice at the supper, as you go.) Wrap them in foil and transport in a tote bag.
We wouldn’t recommend making fish unless it’s poached or smoked salmon that you’re serving cold. “Fish, you kind of have to eat right when you cook it,” says Boone.
Roasted potatoes can be re-heated, “but they may not be quite as attractive—they get wrinkly,” says Boone. Roast them and let them cool, then transport in a glass baking dish, which you’ll use to reheat them, covered in foil. Potato salad is great for this says Boone, because you can make it in advance, store it in the refrigerator, and it will basically come up to room temperature in transit.
If you’re cooking some sort of casserole, bake it in a glass dish, let it cool, and cover it with foil. Place the dish in a cardboard box and tuck kitchen towels between the box and the glass to keep it in place.
Biscuits can be transported the same way as your bite-size appetizers: sheet pan, towel, plastic wrap. Or, if they don’t have to be picture-perfect, just put them in Tupperware once they’re cool.
Pie boxes and cake carriers are cute and all, but who needs to buy extra equipment? (And who wants to find places to store them?) You can carry pie, once cool in its baking dish covered in foil. Wedge it into a box with kitchen towels the same way you did the casserole. For cake, we recommend baking a sheet cake and transporting it right on the pan with some foil. If icing, carry that separately and ice right before you serve.