Have Food, Will Travel — Tips for Transporting Turkey and Sides

Thanksgiving might look a little bit different this year. Personal preferences on social distancing combined with gathering guidelines might stop us from having you standard extended-family get together, but that doesn’t mean people won’t still travel for the holidays. Keep your car from getting decked out with the family Thanksgiving meal this year with these basic maintenance tips and tricks.

Keep things in place

The most obvious trick to traveling with food is to make sure things to shift during transit. While that does, in fact, seem obvious, it isn’t as easily done as it is said. No matter how secure the contain protecting your mashed potatoes are, all it takes is one pothole to send some crushed golden yukons flying. Trying to situate your side dish on the floor or even strapping it into a seatbelt might look ridiculous, but it can save you a load of trouble.

Road-trip Salted Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Popcorn in a Prius | Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Portland Press Herald, Getty Images

Plan for the worst

If you’re anything like me, you’re running out the door five minutes after you were supposed to leave, and for Thanksgiving meals and friends-giving, that means toting along awkward, and sometimes still hot, side dishes. No matter how late I am running, I always try to grab a towel or some type of plastic bag to go under or around my potluck dish. That way, in case of an accident, I won’t be scrubbing sweet potato casserole from my seats.

Whole-in-One Sheet Pan Turkey Breast Dinner photographed for Voraciously | Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post via Getty Images; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post, Getty Images

Keep it cool

Another thing to keep in mind is the temperature of the dish you are transporting. A hot crockpot or casserole dish might be well sealed, but the heat from the container can do just as much to damage your car’s upholstery as the contents inside. While most people don’t often transport scolding hot food, sometimes prepping for the holidays requires a time crunch, or you just don’t want to reheat what you’ve made. Using the same level of precaution for the container as you do for its contents can help prevent you from a car-tastrophe.

Slow cooker red wine beef stew made by Alison Borden adapted from delish.com | Amy Brothers/The Denver Post, Getty Images

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Whether you’re bringing your share of side dishes to the company potluck or traveling to visit family, moving large amounts of food around can be a hassle. Even more annoying is ruining your car’s interior by burning the leather or staining the carpets with gravy. Keep your family and your Thanksgiving dishes safe by staying prepared this holiday season.