After working in restaurants, I made a few permanent changes to the line-up of supplies in my home kitchen. One of the most efficient (and economic) ideas I got from professional kitchens is to use those giant boxes of food wrap. In these boxes, foil and plastic wrap come in lengths of 500 or 1000 feet, so they last forever (I’m still using the 1000-foot box of plastic wrap I bought two years ago). What I like most about these boxes is their sturdiness: because they stay put on a countertop, they act almost like a second set of hands while you extend plastic or foil tightly over a bowl. And if you’re a caterer, or if you frequently prepare large amounts of food to store ahead or to transport, you’ll appreciate the fact that you can wrap to your heart’s content in a very secure fashion. While you do have to watch out for the sharp cutting edge on these boxes, you won’t have to deal with the nasty problem of sticking wrap that won’t unroll properly.
These wraps used to be sold only in restaurant-supply stores. Now the Chef’s Catalog (www.chefscatalog.com) carries the freezer and microwave-safe plastic wrap (12 inches x 1,000 feet for $12.99; 18 inches x 1,000-feet, $19.99) and the aluminum foil (12 inches x 500-feet, $29.99; 18 inches x 500 feet, $39.99), as well as packages of the foil sheets that delis use ($9.99 for 200 sheets). These “deli” wraps are terrifically convenient; I wind up grabbing a sheet or two out of the box every night for something (to line a baking sheet, make a steaming pouch, tent a resting roast). Reynolds Wrap is also packaging them for home cooks; they’re available in grocery stores ($1.99 for a box of 50 sheets).