Friday, October 23, 2009

Truly a thing of beauty

Let’s take a second to talk about one of the standards in my kitchen:

The quart container.

In most of life I advocate embracing chaos and variety. Appreciating each thing for exactly what it is at that time, whatever it may be. Each apple from the same tree falls a little bit differently; maybe it’s sweeter or sourer, crunchier or mealy. One steak could take heat completely differently than another, requiring more or less cooking time. A recipe may yield different results every time. The premise is to step back and be aware of the diversity, and accept it for what it is. If you want the same soup every time, you’re going to have to open a can.

But if I could take ALL of this variety and stuff into one thing, it would be the quart container and its derivatives; truly an example of utilitarian and functional beauty.

Forget the metric system, I’ll take four cups . . . 32oz.

Somewhere, somehow, someway, it became the universal storage vessel, and that’s why I like it. It’s my anchor in a world of changing ingredients and preparations. It’s ideal, with interchangeable sizes (quart, pint, half pint) and UNIFORM lids. (I can’t stress the lids thing enough, because I hate spending time matching lids to containers.)

On a base level, it’s very functional. It’s easily stackable(empty or full). The height/size breakdown makes sense (two 1/2pitns=1 pint, 2pints=1quart). I know this seems to go without saying, but in what other storage container can you stack two smaller sizes next to the larger size, and it takes up the same space (height/width/volume). And as they come in one cup, two cup, and four cup sizes, it can be used roughly as a measuring cup.

Because they are so prevalent, I have solid rotation of quarts coming in (full of takeout) and going out (with friends, full of leftovers) It’s almost like a communal system of shared tupperware, making them more environmentally friendly. Not to mention they’re free.

So if you’re tossing out your to go containers, reconsider. You could build your own collection and never have to worry about buying storage containers again.

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