GladWare: Storage Is the Key to Happiness
Mar 12, 2001 (Updated Mar 15, 2001)
The Bottom Line I can't think of a more effective way to invest $9 in kitchen storage than by purchasing the GladWare Variety Pack.
My wife used to detest my laziness until it infected her. She learned quickly in our marriage that she couldn't get away with sending me to the grocery store more than once a week.
It took her years to learn that she herself wouldn't have to go to the store so often (and there were times when she went grocery shopping twice in one day) if only we were sure to keep everything we needed on hand. This was a hard lesson for her because she's both a gifted cook and an extremely impulsive woman who insists on fully indulging her impulses on a moment's notice. When she craves a hot toddy, it isn't enough to spoon some sugarwater into some bourbon; we had better have cinnamon sticks, lemon peels, and clove--or she's going to the store.
It's taken years for us to figure out how to keep our kitchen fully stocked. The first step was to perfect the art of listmaking. The second was to put a second refrigerator in the basement. (I know it seems gross for a childless couple to stock two refrigerators, but it's mainly the freezer that we needed; and besides, I have beer handy in the basement when my friends come over to play darts.) The third step to effective space-management in the kitchen was the incorporation of GladWare storage containers into our freezing, cooking, and eating routines.
As much fun as I usually have pontificating on the shortcomings of American culture, I'm afraid I shall be reduced in this review to singing the praises of plastic. My flimsy environmental principles can only be subjected to so much incontestable convenience before they collapse. I am unequivocally for GladWare.
The package says you can freeze stuff in the containers. You can. The package says you can microwave stuff in the containers. You can. The package says you can wash the containers in your dishwasher. You can. The fact of the matter is that if your wife's not looking, you can even eat out of the containers.
Let's assume, for the sake of an example, that your wife has made a sausage-spinach casserole. As per usual, she kept you busy grating cheese as she prepared it (not because she puts cheese in the casserole, but because she has to keep you out of her way). Once you were neutralized, she made a whole casserole dish full of absolute deliciousness, even though the two of you could only eat a third of the casserole at most. But that's okay because you can have the rest as leftovers.
Left to your own devices, you could eat sausage-spinach casserole three nights in a row because it's really good. But the reason your wife is a good cook is that she's a bit of a gourmand. She doesn't like to have the same meal two nights in a row. So what do you do with the casserole?
It used to be that we would put the remains of the casserole into the fridge in the hope of eating some of it the next night and then freezing the rest. But you know what happens to frozen casseroles in the freezer. They get buried under roasts and chicken breasts and packages of broccoli florettes.
Not with GladWare. GladWare stacks. Our downstairs freezer is no longer analogous to a culinary toychest into which we dump all of our leftovers without much hope of ever retrieving anything in particular. It's now a bit like a Tetris screen. We can actually see the contents of the containers instead of wondering whether that's stew or spaghetti sauce in the storage bag.
And the best thing about freezing our leftovers in the GladWare packets is how easy it makes the eating of leftovers (a task that has fallen to me). I can take that container of stew out of the freezer, pop it into the microwave, eat my stew out of the container, rinse it, and then toss it into the dishwasher for cleaning.
As you might expect, the containers stain easily. Tomato sauce in particular seems to leave an ineradicable stain. If you're a purist (like my wife) who can't imagine putting stew into a container stained by spaghetti sauce, you can simply use the container to store something else (such as bullion cubes or packets of seasoning)--something that you would ordinarily store in a tin and that you're tired of having to open three or four different tins to find. Alternatively, you can throw the stained containers away. Since each container costs only about thirty-five cents, I feel like I get my money's worth out of a single usage. But my wife and I have used some of our containers dozens of times.
They stand up to abuse surprisingly well. Not only do they make the transition from the freezer to the microwave far better than I expected, but they don't melt in the dishwasher. The directions say to be sure to keep them on the top shelf, but we didn't discover that warning until after months of sticking them anywhere in the dishwasher that they fit (which resulted in no damage that we could see).
The ones with the dual compartments are a bit of a waste unless you take your lunch to work or pack lunches for someone else. We use them as disposable dog bowls for messy treats. But I'm sure they would come in handy for families.
These days I don't find myself dreading my wife's decision to tune into the Food Network at 10:30 p.m. If she sees someone cooking something that she will want to try to make (as is invariably the case), I know that neither of us will have to make a run to the convenience store. We've already got whatever she's going to need. And we can find it easily in the stacks of transparent containers that we keep in our pantry and our freezers.
*If anyone can tell me where to put this review so that it will be more useful, I'm prepared to move it.