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View Full Version : Need some better leftover food containers?



Steve Griffin
08-08-2010, 9:16 PM
Strange as it seems, I enjoy cleaning up after dinner. Most meals are prepared by my wonderful and beautiful wife for me and my two year old. The least I could do is clean up, right? However, there is one thing that just ruins the whole experience and almost brings me to complete frustration and tears--what to do with the leftovers????

Each night after dinner, I look in the drawer dedicated to plastic tuperware type containers, and find there are about 30 containers and 20 lids, none of which match. Statistically I'm always amazed at this, but it is true. Not a single tub has a matching top. I start to panic, and decide to choose a container anyway, still hoping to find a lid. No luck. So I look for tin foil or plastic wrap and I'm literally foiled again--nothing. The rest of the kitchen is still a mess, I realize I have once again totally failed in providing, as a man should, for left overs....

Being a super organized woodworker type a guy who doesn't flinch at spending $2000 for a slightly better power tool, I can't believe how stupid most kitchens are set up to deal with leftovers. What I want, and what I'm willing to pay great deal of money for is this:

3 sizes of well made plastic or ceramic containers with ONE size lid which fits them all. I know, sounds like rocket magic, but that's all I want in life after 6pm.

Do I really have to patent this and find financing and set up a corporation, or does someone already make this and I just can't find it????

-Steve

glenn bradley
08-08-2010, 9:37 PM
I thought these (http://www.reuseit.com/store/allpurpose-silicone-magiccovers-kuhn-rikon-p-2336.html) were a gimmick but, they work great. Also, I store all my plasticware with the lids on and have immediate access top the one I want in a functional condition. LOML stores hers as you describe and I just refuse to open the cabinet; it comes pouring out like like Fred Flintstone's closet.

Ben Franz
08-08-2010, 10:28 PM
Plastic take-out soup containers used by Chinese restaurants. Two or three sizes, interchangeable lids, attractive price! I save these for storage of many kitchen items and for leftovers. I'm not sure they're microwave safe but I don't use plastic in the microwave anyway. We have a lot of plastic storage stuff too but these are pretty useful.

Caspar Hauser
08-09-2010, 12:40 AM
I think what you are looking for is a dog.

Rick Potter
08-09-2010, 3:38 AM
Somebody makes 'em. I have seen them advertised where there are several sizes of container, where the lids stack together with the empty bowls stacked on top. Glad, maybe??

Rick Potter

Harlan Coverdale
08-09-2010, 4:35 AM
Caspar got it right. Woof!

Dan Hintz
08-09-2010, 6:50 AM
My wife picked up a set of clear containers a few months back... several sizes (they had more than the few she picked up), and all of the lids had "wings" on all four sides that snap down over the container. Silicone strips inside to keep it airtight, but they all had a little silicone nub at the top you could pop out (permanently attached and hinged to the lid so you won't lose it) to allow steam to escape. The silicone of every lid/container was color-coded so you instantly knew what top went with what container. And they all stack, including the lids.

Wonderful stuff, though I cannot remember who makes them off of the top of my head... I'll ask her.

Gene Howe
08-09-2010, 6:58 AM
Please ask, Dan.
Please share, too.
Sounds like a good idea.

Dan Hintz
08-09-2010, 8:06 AM
LOML remembers the oddest of things... I tried Rubbermaid, Solo, Tupperware, Ziploc, and a new one on me, Snapware. Turns out they're made by Sterilite and they're called Ultra•Seal™ Food Storage (http://www.sterilite.com/ProductCategory.html?ProductCategory=30&section=4)... I'm sure she picked them up at Target or Wal-Mart.

http://www.sterilite.com/productfiles/images/PD1_03111606.jpg

They're pretty cool. The 3.1 and 4.5 cup both share the same lid size, so both are labeled green, as above. The 5.8, 8.3, and 12.0 cup are all orange, they just get deeper and deeper. Round, square, tall, short... there's a decent selection of sizes, but only 5 lid sizes. All of the rounds use the purple lids, and you could probably get away with a good selection of the other square/rectangular sizes with orange and green lids.

Matt Meiser
08-09-2010, 8:14 AM
Dan, how do those hold up in the microwave? The manufacturer says microwave-safe (and dishwasher-safe) but safe and doesn't make a mess of them are two different things.

We have the same problem as the OP. In fact, I just told LOML Jr late last week that I wanted her to empty out the drawers/cabinets and match every container/lid since it seems we have all lids with no containers and vise versa left. Of course then she spent the weekend at grandma and grandpa's so she got out of it so far.

Dan Hintz
08-09-2010, 9:14 AM
Matt,

They appear to hold up quite well (so far, at least). One thing I will warn about, though, is reheating anything that contains oil. I love her dearly, but I have as of yet been unsuccessful in getting the LOML to treat certain cookware with the respect it deserves to last long term.

Storage of chili, for example, is no different than any other food item... but reheating it in the plastic containers will heat the oil in the chili to the point of burning the plastic and permanently staining it (and if you leave it to heat too long, it will blister the plastic). When it comes time to reheat stuff like that, put it into a glass or ceramic dish.

She also can't seem to refrain from using Pam on non-stick surfaces. They're already non-stick, what do you need the Pam for?! Once you go down that road, you have to continue spraying it because the non-stick surface is now gunked up with roasted Pam and is no longer non-stick. :rolleyes: I have also yet to train her to use wooden cooking utensils with those pans, so they usually end up scratched all to you know where and back, requiring a repurchase in a year or two.

Steve Griffin
08-09-2010, 10:00 AM
HA Caspar.!

That's why we ended up with a kid---I'm not a dog fan, and when she started talking about getting a dog, I was like WHOA, lets not get crazy here. IF we are going to tie ourselves down and make it hard to travel, spend money on food, have our house wrecked, clean up flith, why not take the easy route and get a real person....

-Steve (kidding. Kinda.)

Steve Griffin
08-09-2010, 10:04 AM
Those containers Dan is talking about sound good. I've seen the Glad ones, and they are not color coded and are semi-disposable they are so cheap. But these look fine, especially if I could keep the number of lids needed to a minimum.

The ticket will be to throw out every thing else in the house, which is hard for us nature faker types. Maybe parts holding in the shop or something for some of them....

Thanks! -Steve

Lee Ludden
08-09-2010, 10:37 AM
We use the Lock and Lock brand of storage containers. They don't necessarily have multiple sizes for one lid, but they are very handy. I use one to store my water stones to keep them wet.

Belinda Williamson
08-09-2010, 11:13 AM
I have absolutely nothing to contribute to this discussion really. I use the Glad containers when, on the rare occasion, there are leftovers. Containers stacked neatly, tops vertically in a rack to the right. The tops seem to wear out rather quickly so the bottems then become containers for craft stuff.

I only posted so I can ask where to find men like you guys! I have already had one very nice set of nonstick cookware gunked up with Pam and my SO can't seem to follow the logic of the organization of the kitchen so when he does unload the dishwasher I can't find anything for a couple of days. Spoons DO NOT go in the with the forks in the utensil drawer, they have their own slot. All purposed utensils such as peelers, graters, choppers, etc. go in a drawer together. Steak knives with wood handles DO NOT go in the dishwasher. Sorry, just a very brief rant. Carry on with your pursuit of the ultmate storage containers. A friend gave me one of those carousel thingies with all the containers and tops organized in the holder. I've yet to take it out of the box.

Dan Hintz
08-09-2010, 11:25 AM
Belinda,

If I was single and in GA, I don't doubt I would be dating one the friends in your inner circle by now ;) Good women that can deal with me on a 24/7 basis are hard to find :p

Paul Brinkmeyer
08-09-2010, 11:53 AM
I only posted so I can ask where to find men like you guys! Steak knives with wood handles DO NOT go in the dishwasher.

Just gotta look in the right places. After my fight with the grim reaper, I do all the cooking, most of the laundry and such. This way I know what I am eating, and clean-up is so much easier. Yes, I have cut myself on wooden handled kives in the diswasher, blade side up... Most of my SO's friends and relatives even put in requests for food dishes when they come to visit, or to send with her when she visits them. I can replicate really good pizza that you would think was made in a pizzeria with a fire brick oven, And mine is actually heathier. And chicken lasanga is real good too.

Here is one trick my SO used to get out of laundry just the other day.
I put on my socks and shoes and could tell something was not right. SO, I go into another room and turn on the light to have look. sure, the white sock was cotton and the black sock was polyester. Then she wonders why I do the chores.

Matt Meiser
08-09-2010, 11:59 AM
New plastic containers for the house means a new supply for the shop when the old ones are discarded. :D

Plus I'm sick of digging through trying to find an appropriate sized container that actually has a lid.

Belinda Williamson
08-09-2010, 12:07 PM
Belinda,

If I was single and in GA, I don't doubt I would be dating one the friends in your inner circle by now ;) Good women that can deal with me on a 24/7 basis are hard to find :p

You have to take a test first, Dan. Are you spices stored in alphabetical order? Do you shelve your CDs and books in alphabetical order by artist and author? Do you store coffee and filters in the same cabinet with the coffee cups? Can you walk into your kitchen in the dark and know the exact location of the item you nee? We run a tight ship here in GA! :D


Here is one trick my SO used to get out of laundry just the other day. I put on my socks and shoes and could tell something was not right. SO, I go into another room and turn on the light to have look. sure, the white sock was cotton and the black sock was polyester. Then she wonders why I do the chores.

Sigh . . . that doesn't work at my house. My SO would find me and say, "I know you are color blind but really, black and white? Really??? Where's my other white sock?" I would reply, "with your other black sock." Actually I couldn't operate like that. It messes with my sense of balace in the universe.

Cool Whip bowls . . . that's the ticket. They are really fun to empty and the tops always fit. ;)

Dan Hintz
08-09-2010, 12:28 PM
Are you spices stored in alphabetical order?
Do you shelve your CDs and books in alphabetical order by artist and author?
Do you store coffee and filters in the same cabinet with the coffee cups?
Can you walk into your kitchen in the dark and know the exact location of the item you need?
1) It varies... they start out alphabetically, but as I grab several at once and put them back, they tend more towards what I use more often. I have to reorganize from time to time when I make something new. Now that I live in a place where counter space is at a premium (sharing it with someone who uses things like a toaster, a coffee maker, etc.), my spices have to go back into the cabinet after I'm done with them. Keeping them in order flew out the window.

2) CDs, yes. Books, sorta... fiction is sorted by author, tech stuff is sorted by content. I eventually got tired of shifting the cases and moved all of the CDs out of their cases and into one of those folder deals... now I spend twice as much time shifting them when a new CD is added to the collection :rolleyes:

3) Sadly, I may not look as good on this one.:o Don't do much coffee, mostly tea. So the filters get stored next to the bags/boxes of coffee/tea, along with the sugar packets and instant creamer some guests insist on using. I have an entire shelf designated solely for coffee/tea cups, do I get partial credit for that?

4) I can find what I need in the dark, but pouring it into the cup can prove problematic... many moons, while staying at my girlfriend's place, she asked me what I did in the kitchen the night before. It appears in the pitch black of the night I grabbed a cup, set it onto one of the few unoccupied spots of the counter, and proceeded to pour one and a half cups' worth of fruit punch Kool-Aid into it. I got my drink, but it dried and stained the white countertop. That was my first lesson in how well that red dye really changes the color of whatever it touches.



Soooo, would I have been "close enough" to a passing grade? :p

Belinda Williamson
08-09-2010, 12:40 PM
1)Soooo, would I have been "close enough" to a passing grade? :p

Some Belles would find you quite acceptable, especially since you put so much thought into matching wedding rings - that scores LOTS of extra points. Other Belles are a little more picky. Guess we'll never know since you up and got yerself hitched!

Dan Hintz
08-09-2010, 12:59 PM
Guess we'll never know since you up and got yerself hitched!
Man, it's always something! :D

Caspar Hauser
08-10-2010, 4:40 AM
HA Caspar.!

That's why we ended up with a kid---I'm not a dog fan, and when she started talking about getting a dog, I was like WHOA, lets not get crazy here. IF we are going to tie ourselves down and make it hard to travel, spend money on food, have our house wrecked, clean up flith, why not take the easy route and get a real person....

-Steve (kidding. Kinda.)

So, a goat is out of the question then?

Rick Markham
08-10-2010, 6:52 AM
Belinda and Paul, Y'all haven't caught on... sometimes a poorly done job insures no one asks you to do it again ;) It's a strategy that has been exercised for generations... I would never partake of any such behavior :D

My vote is for Cambro containers, they take the abuse of professional kitchens, there are usually several sizes that share a color coded lid, and they are square, which means they are an efficient use of space. Just google Cambro and look at CamSquare storage and lids ;)

Dan Hintz
08-10-2010, 7:23 AM
Rick,

I saw colored lids on the Cambro links I found, but I didn't see matching colors anywhere on the containers... do you have a specific link that shows this?

Pat Germain
08-10-2010, 12:27 PM
Strangely, I also like to be Captain of the Kitchen. I enjoy cooking when I can do it my way. And, of course, my way typically involves using lots of power tools!

My kitchen has what must be a hundred different Tupperware containers. Mrs. Pat keeps all the lids in one drawer. So, it can take me a few minutes to match a lid to a container.

For leftover storage, I like two solutions: zipper bags and Pyrex bowls.

Zipper bags are great because they are only as large as what's in them and they take up less space that way. I typically close them almost all the way, then insert a straw and suck the air out before sealing it. This actually works really well. Then I can freeze it or throw it in the fridge. It works especially well for sauces. When I make pizza sauce or marinara, I dump the leftover sauce in a zipper bag and freeze it. Then I have ready-made homemade sauce.

Pyrex bowls are wonderful! You can put them in the freezer, refrigerator, microwave or oven. (I've heard they can shatter after oven use, but I've never had this problem.) Unlike plastic containers, Pyrex bowls won't partially melt in the microwave. My Pyrex bowls came with lids. So, for example, I can whip up a batch of homemade mashed potatoes in the bowl, serve them in the bowl, put on the lid and store them in the bowl, then reheat them in the microwave or oven in the same bowl. After all that, I can throw the bowl in the dishwasher and, unlike a plastic container, it won't flip over and fill with water or fall to the bottom and melt.

When their in the freezer or fridge, you can easily see what's inside a Pyrex bowl. And a set of Pyrex bowls stack neatly inside one another to save cabinet space. Tupper-what?