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fd-transport-msg - 1/26/09


Transporting cooked and prepared food. Keeping it hot or cold.


NOTE: See also the files: headcooks-msg, pot-luck-fsts-msg, Run-a-Feast-art, warming-ovens-msg, feast-serving-msg, feast-ideas-msg, dayboards-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 10:35:29 -0400

From: grizly at mindspring.com

Subject: Re: Re: SC - NEED AN OPINION


> Seton1355 at aol.com wrote:

> ><<<<  If I pack hot boneless chicken cutlets in foil and then wrap in newspaper and then store them in a picnic cooler. Will they go bad in 4 hours? Or do you think they will still be OK to eat? >>>>>>


Adamantius added:

><<SNIP>>> Ultimately, the question is, for how much of that four hours will your chicken be under 140 degrees Fahrenheit? >>>>


A terribly simple solution that I have found to boost the duration of heated food in coolers is an item often used for arthritis.  Take an impeccably clean sock (or terricloth towel folded in half and sides sewn closed) and put within 1 pound of rice.  Tie end in a knot (or sew the edge closed).  This item is now ready to use. Heat on high in a microwave oven for 2 minutes.  It will be VERY hot when you remove it, so use pads.  Put immediately in the cooler and close the lid (if you use over the size that will hold 16 drinks, you'll need more of these jewels).  It will now heat the cooler for you.  You may now put your hot food into it without having the heat sucked out to heat the environment around it.  Reheat your rice bag again, and return to the cooler with the food, and close up.  I have found that this adds from 60 to 90 minutes to the holding time for food in insulated containers.***  For use on sore/arthritic joints, only heat about 30 to 45 seconds.  Make sure it doesnąt burn to hold it when squishing the rice.  It will hold therapeutic temperature for over an hour.  If it start holding temps for too short a time, then mist the sack a LITTLE with water before heating it or change the rice.  It will last for years before completely wearing out.  Pretty good for about a $1.00 investment in materials!!


niccolo difrancesco



Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 11:24:37 -0400

From: Elaine Koogler <ekoogler at chesapeake.net>



Another thing we did at a feast to keep soup hot in a cooler was to make sure that we filled the cooler with very hot water and let it sit for about 15 minutes.  This heats up the cooler, making it keep thing hot longer.


Then of course there are those devices that plug into your cigarette lighter in your car which will keep food either hot or cold.





Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2002 23:58:35 -0400

From: kattratt <kattratt at charter.net>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] great tips


A "Cooler" also works as a "heater"!!! Put newspaper in the bottom

(sections at a time) then whatever you want kept hot!!! Then another

layer of newspaper sections.  (Cardboard also works just as well)

Rice, Meat Pies, 2 hours

Chicken 1 hour

Bread 30 ish minutes

ALL Served Piping hot!





From: Weaver8002 at aol.com

Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 18:31:25 EST

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Info on holding cabinets and portable hotboxes?

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


doc at medievalcookery.com writes:

> Do any of the pro and semi-pro chefs on the list have recommendations

> for holding cabinets/hotboxes/carriers?  I'm going to be cooking a good

> sized feast in a place that has almost no kitchen and am considering

> purchasing some major equipment to make my life a little easier.


> Ideally I'd want something reasonably portable (given a big enough

> van), that can keep hot foods at safe serving temperature (possibly

> with the addition of sterno cans or something), and of course

> inexpensive as well (a couple of hundred bucks in my dreams - a couple

> of thousand in my nightmares).


> - Doc


While I'm no where near even a simi-professional, Alton Brown of "Good Eats"

fame mentioned on one of his shows that a cooler could also be used as a hot

box.  As I recall, he lined the bottom with newspaper, heated bricks in the

oven, covered them with more newspaper and the put the carefully sealed food

on top and covered with more newspapers before closing. I've never tried it,

but it sounds reasonable and would be cheep.


Margherita the Weaver



From: "Phlip" <phlip at 99main.com>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Info on holding cabinets and portable hotboxes?

Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 20:32:05 -0500


> Do any of the pro and semi-pro chefs on the list have recommendations

> for holding cabinets/hotboxes/carriers?


While not a chef of any description ;-) I tend to agree with the suggestions of using coolers, for a combination of convenience, versatility, safety and pirice.


Essentially, all you need is an insulated containment method, and coolers will provide that, while still being food safe and reasonably portable. They have some fairly large ones on the market now- I've seen them at Sam's Club- and lining them with newspaper and storing hot food in them works very nicely. If you want to for even less expensive, the plastic tubs, if properly lined with insulation such as newspaper, would work as well. I used two of them filled with ice cubes to haul the veal calf I butchered for Iasmine's Coronation Feast all over Ohio, as well as storing it for a couple of days at Duke Andrew's. They worked very well. The trick is the keep them full so that the hot or cold foods help keep each other hot or cold. The addition of ice or wrapped hot bricks just keeps things at your preferred temperature longer.





From: Robyn.Hodgkin at affa.gov.au

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] Info on holding cabinets and portable hotboxes?

Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 13:49:04 +1100


Investing in a few in-oven thermometers might be a worthwhile thing for portable newspaper lined hotboxes, so you can easily tell what temperature things are at when you open the box.





Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 07:42:36 -0500

From: "Nick Sasso" <NJSasso at msplaw.com>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Info on holding cabinets and portable



From: <Weaver8002 at aol.com>

> While I'm no where near even a simi-professional, Alton Brown of "Good Eats"

> fame mentioned on one of his shows that a cooler could also be used as a hot

> box.  As I recall, he lined the bottom with newspaper, heated bricks in the

> oven, covered them with more newspaper and the put the carefully sealed food

> on top and covered with more newspapers before closing.  I've never tried it,

> but it sounds reasonable and would be cheep. Margherita the Weaver


I have wrapped 2 bricks in heavy duty foil, heated them in oven at 300F

for about 15 minutes, then placed [them] in cooler for heating.  6 hours later,

there was no appreciable drop in brick temp.  Granted, these bricks are

circa 1920 solid, and have no holes in them.  It's the same theory as

thermal mass ovens.  I don't know if it will last days . . . gotta try

that this weekend.


pacem et bonum,

niccolo difrancesco



From: Robyn.Hodgkin at affa.gov.au

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] Info on holding cabinets and portable hotboxes?

Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2003 14:27:35 +1100


>From "Hard times handbook" by Keith and Irene Smith


Fireless cookers

The simple haybox and the more elaborate hotbox are fireless cookers.  They work in the same way as a vaccuum flask, retaining heat by insulation.

Once a pot of soup or stew has been brought to the boil, it is placed inside the insulated box, where it continues cooking for several hours without using any further energy. This slow cooking method is ideal for dishes like soups, stews, porridge, rice, grains and casseroles.  You can use it to keep water or cooked food warm and to make yoghurt.


The hotbox gives slow even cooking which will make even cheaper cuts of meat and tough old fowls tender and palatable.  Using this method you can't overcook, food can't boil over, burn or dry up so there are no scorched pans to scrape and clean.  Food is cooked in the saucepan or casserole dish on your stove till it boils, or between one-third to one half the usual cooking time, then transferred to the hotbox with the lid still sealed. The hotbox is closed and the food is left for roughly three times as long to complete cooking.


Porridge for early breakfast should be put into the hotbox overnight. Oatmeal, rice, cracked wheat and other grains swell to the utmost when cooked this way, but dried beans should first be soaked overnight before cooking.  Put the evening meal in the hotbox during the day, go out, and enjoy it when you return at night, tired and hungry."


"For bigger meals I have a haybox cooker in a tea chest.  it is half packed with dry grass, with some more in an old pillow case. Make a nest in the ahy to fit the chosen saucepan (or even better, pressure cooker), wrap it in newspaper after boiling, put it to bed and tuck it in well. "


"a styrofoam picnic box or moulded plastic "esky" would make an ideal container for an efficient hotbox  It already has a degree of insultation in-built which can be further improved by adding insulation tightly packed around the cavity where the cooking pot will sit."


"the simple haybox is made by burying a pot with a tight fitting lid (used as a food container) inside a wooden box in uncut hay. a pillow or cushion on the top makes an insulated cover. There should be at least 10cm of tightly packed insulation around the billy, and 15cm of insulation material above and below it.  The outside may be a metal or plastic garbage tin, a drum, bucket or kerosine tin.  Insulation may be shredded newspapers, polystyrene packing, cotton, sawdust, steel wool, dried seaweed or an old woollen blanket, as long as the material is dry and clean".


I hope this is of some help.





Date: Tue, 23 May 2006 11:45:40 -0400 (GMT-04:00)

From: Kerri Martinsen <kerrimart at mindspring.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] transporting hot food WAS: Veggie suggestions

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


From: Ysabeau <ysabeau at mail.ev1.net>

> I'm hoping that if I bake the Hungarian tarts and pop them into an insulated  

> cooler straight from the oven they should stay warm enough to serve for at  

> least an hour. I can cook the sausages on the grill on site.


Be sure you protect your plastic cooler from the hot dishes.  Towels  

would work.  You can also put a brick in the oven while your dishes  

are cooking and then transfer said brick to the cooler to help  

maintain a higher temp.  Again protecting cooler from hot brick (put  

hot brick on cold brick).





Date: Tue, 23 May 2006 11:53:26 EDT

From: KristiWhyKelly at aol.com

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] transporting hot food WAS: Veggie suggestions

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org


> if I bake the Hungarian tarts and pop them into an insulated cooler

> straight from the oven they should stay warm enough to serve for at least an

> hour. I can cook the sausages on the grill on site.


If you have those metal coolers that Coleman sells.  They work very well for

keeping your hot foods hot.  We use them all the time to pull  meats from the

ovens when we are doing lots of roasts.  In fact they are so  good at keeping

temps, we've learned to under cook the meats by 5-8 degrees as they over

cooked in the cooler over a couple of hours.





Date: Tue, 23 May 2006 13:31:55 -0400

From: "grizly" <grizly at mindspring.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] transporting hot food WAS: Veggie suggestions

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Throw in some thoroughly cleaned, foil wrapped and oven heated bricks,

and you extend the holding time your insulated box can support.





Date: Tue, 23 May 2006 14:32:49 -0600

From: "Georgia Foster" <jo_foster81 at hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] transporting hot food

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org


Otherhill is a VERY large (land-mass wise) shire in Artemisia and it is not

unusual to cook feast and have to transport the whole mass an hour or more

away (like last Candlemass).  I prepared feast for 40, in my own kitchen,

packed all into as many plastic coolers as I could lay hands on.


If you stuff the cooler as full as possible with hot stuff and any remaining

air space with towels ... it works even better.


I do an average of one such feast every other year.




Coleman came out with a hot food keeper that plugs into the average vehicle

power port (formerly known as a cigarette lighter).  I am told that it works

great for longer transports.  I have a companion who got one free from

(gasp) Marlboro miles, and he totally loves it.  It is on my list of things

to get and try between now and Uprising War (next month).






Jo (Georgia L.) Foster



Date: Tue, 23 May 2006 17:13:25 -0500

From: "Betsy Marshall" <betsy at softwareinnovation.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] transporting hot food WAS: Veggie suggestions

To: "'Kerri Martinsen'" <kerrimart at mindspring.com>,     "'Cooks within the

        SCA'" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Also pop a blanket over the top- Igloo(TM)type tubs are more insulated on

the bottom, (where the cold air pools) than on the top to prevent heat from

rising and escaping.



Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2007 11:23:40 -0400

From: Cindy Renfrow <cindy at thousandeggs.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Help!!!  Camp Ovens

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Regarding pie shells able to resist transportation?


Elizabeth, have a look at: http://www.thousandeggs.com/gretepye.html

The dough I used is far heavier and stiffer than ordinary pie dough and

will hold up well to moulding around a cookie tin. Hint: wrap the

upside-down tin with greased foil before applying the dough to the

?outside* of the tin, and don't press it down too tightly. You will be

baking your "castle" upside down. Heavy cardboard mailing tubes work

fairly well if you want to make castle towers (if you don't mind the

smell of cooking cardboard).


After baking, let the dough cool completely before carefully unmolding

it. Then pop it back in a very slow oven with the door cracked open a

bit to dry the shell out completely. This may take several on/off

cycles. During this final phase, you may also glaze and decorate your

castle walls with seeds, egg yolks, etc.


The filling can be heated & the whole thing assembled on site at the

last minute. A chef's propane torch can be used to melt the final sugar

glaze, but be careful.


Regarding your oven dilemma, now is not the time to experiment!  Find a

friend with a working oven or chat up your local pizzeria owner.


Also, if you haven't seen it already,

http://www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD/illusion-fds-msg.html is quite



Cindy Renfrow



Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2007 12:39:09 -0500

From: Anne-Marie Rousseau <dailleurs at liripipe.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] medieval boil-in bag meals

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>,     Susan Fox

        <selene at earthlink.net>


for things in a crust, I found that wrapping them loosely in tin  

foil, and THEN putting them in

ziplocks helped keep the crust from getting soggy, plus the extra  

packaging that was slightly stiff meant they didnt get as smooshed!


of course the best way to transport tarts and such is in the muffin  

pans (we sometimes do our handheld pies in texas muffin tins)




> What completely failed in seal-bags was hand-held pies.  I tried to bag

> up Cornish pasties for war once and the vacuum-suck process broke up the

> crusts severely.  Next time, I go with conventional zipper bags and

> store them on crushed ice, gently.


> Selene



Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2008 15:22:04 -0400

From: "Barbara Benson" <voxeight at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] kitchen tips

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


<<< Can you really insure that meats or pasta held in this manner in a cooler

will stay above 140 degrees for the number of hours you indicate?

How can you monitor this to the satisfaction of the authorities?

Has this method been approved by a public health department? >>>


To my knowledge, in the area of the Country that I reside, the public

health department has no involvement in what we do in the SCA any more

than if we were having a family reunion - I realize that this does not

hold true for all areas of the Society - but for here it does. The

authorities only get involved if there is a crime committed on site.


I monitor the heat levels in the cooler the same way I do when the

meat is in the oven - with a meat thermometer. Never once has the

temperature fell below safe handling practices. I have held meat up to

2 hours, but try to keep it under an hour. Even at two hours the meat

removed from the cooler has been hot enough to cause severe discomfort

to seasoned carvers and burns on those who do not have "asbestos"

hands. My primary concern with keeping the meat in the cooler for too

long is the carryover cooking that occurs from holding the meat at a

relatively high temperature.


For noodles, I try to keep the holding time around a half hour, again

more for concerns of overcooking then food safety. And again every

time I have done it the noodles stay consistently well above the 140

degree mark.  I even had a situation where an assistant (in this case

my husband) did not heed my warning about the level of heat in the

cooler and he acquired a nasty scald/burn.


When using the cooler technique it is important for the volume of the

food you are keeping to almost completely fill the cooler - there

should not be excess space in the cooler because this will speed

cooling time. Just as it is possible to fill a cooler with ice and

keep foods at a safe temperature it is possible to fill a cooler with

something very hot and keep it at a safe temperature.


Serena da Riva



Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2008 19:28:10 -0300

From: Diane & Micheal Reid <dmreid at hfx.eastlink.ca>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] health dept. RE:  kitchen tips

To: avelyn at greneboke.com, Cooks within the SCA

        <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


You can avoid most of the problems with coolers if you find what are known

as Hot Pots here don`t know what there. These are containers designed for

hot food transport. Around here we can rent them for roughly 25-35 dollars

daily. They are for all intense and purposes a very expensive cooler with

locking lids.


Still when required to use one, I sanitize it before packing who knows when

they were used last.


The major problem most Health departments have with coolers is sanitzation

and nonlocking lids.


As far as Pasta goes:  Pre cook cool bag and transport in cold box reheat

on site works if you can. Cuts your onsite time in half, just don't

overload. No stove simple lobster burner called here same set up used for

deep firing turkeys in some places. Large pot of water make it fresh every

hall has a parking lot .



Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2008 11:08:44 -0500

From: "Gwen Barclay" <gwenb at cvtv.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Food Safety in the SCA

To: <avelyn at greneboke.com>,   "Cooks within the SCA"

        <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


<<< From experiences with food festivals (not SCA) as a professional, I found that there are 2 items that you can bet will always be scrutinized at events such as these:  food temperatures which must be below 40 degrees or above 140 always tested with the instant thermo-meter.  I would never chance a bad reading from my own, so kept cold food a few degrees under 40 and hot food a few degrees above 140. >>>


If food is being pre-prepared and brought to another site - be aware that certain cooked foods are a possible catastrophe waiting to happen.  Mashed potatoes - even partially mashed, rice and beans of any kind are very difficult to transport.  I will never forget when a helpful volunteer decided to start  heating 10 lbs. of cooked beans in a steam table!  I found them bubbling over the side and smelling to high heaven. I realize that some foods that are "suspect" may not be applicable to events connected to SCA but it is always wise to be aware of possible problems ahead of time.


The other violation that health department inspectors always check is the cleanliness of cooking and serving utensils.  They should be kept in a container of water with a small amount of bleach.  This is particularly important when there is no hot water, or when serving a buffet for a group that doesn't come all at the same time.


I hope these tips might be helpful to some members.



Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2008 12:05:09 -0400

From: Avelyn Grene <avelyn at greneboke.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Food Safety in the SCA

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Stefan asked:


<<Hmmm. Okay, but what makes these particular items difficult to

transport?  Is the problem in transporting them? Transporting them at

safe temperatures? Or is the problem in warming them up again, safely?>>


Starchy foods (beans, rice, potatoes) are just as bad as raw

chicken for carrying and breeding bacteria.  One of the biggest problems

with transporting food (especially when you do not have the proper

equipment, as many in the SCA don't) is that it is very easy for food to

drop below its proper holding temperature, and food is very rarely

brought back up to temp once on site. Ideally, if you have to transport

hot food to site, you need to have it carried in hot boxes of some sort,

and then put immediately into a hot holding box, so that it says above

temp.  Or, if you can make it there - do that!


Potatoes: Botulism - Caused by temperature abused vegetables (potatoes

being one of the biggest problems).  The bacteria, clostrium botulinum

forms spores that are found in water and soil.  It doesn't grow well

when refrigerated or in acidic and low moisture food.  It does thrive

without oxygen though (baked potatoes in foil, covered mashed potatoes,

cans, etc).  The spores produce deadly toxins when temperature abused.


Rice: Bacteria: Bacillus cereus.  It is also spore-forming and dangerous

when time/temperature abused.  There are two separate kinds of toxins

produced by this bacterium, one from rice, the other from cooked

veggies, meats, and milk.  Unlike botulism, you probably won't die from

this bacterium (though you may wish you did).


<<Is there a problem with warming such foods in a steam table? ie: Do

you need to warm them up on a stove first because the steam table only

develops enough heat to keep food and not warm it up from a cold

condition? But in that case, why did the beans get hot enough to bubble

over the side? And why were the beans smelling? Was some of them

burning? Or had they started rotting? Or something else?>>


Lothar hit this right on the money.  Steam Tables (in other words hot

buffet lines) are meant only to keep hot food hot.  They are not to be

used to heat food.  Anything being reheated must reach at 165 degrees

within two hours.  Anything over this allows any bacteria to grow in

mass quantities.


-A note on Bacteria:  bacteria grows *best* from 40-70 degrees, and

grows *really well* between 70-135.  The faster any food is heated or

chilled in or out of these temperatures, the better.  This is why food

needs to be heated to 165 within two hours, and chilled to 40 within

four hours.  (Since the food has a longer time to pass through The

Danger Zone (40-135 degrees) bacteria have a longer time to multiply,

which is why it needs heated up to a hotter temp faster.)


<<I do have these files in the FEASTS section of the Florilegium.

warming-ovens-msg (10K)  6/ 1/08    Using warming ovens for SCA feasts.


<<Is a steam table different from a warming oven? I thought they were

the same. If not, perhaps I need some information on how to correctly

use steam tables, when a site has them.>>>>


Again, steam tables = buffet lines, and only keep already hot food warm

for a short period of time (chafers are the same thing). The same with

hot holding boxes, if the temp only stays in the 140-180 range, it was

only meant to keep the food warm, not heat it up.  To actually reheat

food you need an oven or stove that can get hot enough to heat the food

within 2 hours (using less time than that is better) and usually need to

be at least 300 degrees.  (If your "warming oven" heats up higher than

300, the it should be okay to reheat food, if it doesn't it is only okay

to keep it hot - I don't want to give a definite on what a "warming oven"

can do, as some people have different ideas about what the items actually



<< fd-transport-msg  (18K)  3/16/08    Transporting cooked and prepared



My thoughts on transporting food:  If you HAVE to do it (it's better not

to) then make sure your food is in a sanitary, insulated environment,

where it will not lose much heat.  Transport the food quickly; get it in

an appropriate hot/cold holding unit, if possible.  If no professional

equipment is available to you, then keep it in coolers (many of the

ideas in the mentioned files were good ideas for adding additional heat)

and please make sure you taken temperatures every 1-2 hours and don't

hold it for more than 4 hours.  *If you are transporting ready to eat

food for feast, do it as close to service time as possible - SCA feasts

usually start late (in my experience) so you will probably have to hold

it longer than you would like.  (You may also want to look into

renting/borrowing pro equipment if doing a large feast this way).


Moral of the story - temp your food and keep it at the right temps for

the right amount of time!


Sorry for the book and micro lesson




Lady Avelyn Grene

Apprentice to Master Edouard Halidai

Chronicler and Historian for Barony Flaming Gryphon


<the end

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
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Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org