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Thermos or Food jar
March 10, 2008 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Can any of you recommend a thermos/food jar that is durable and can keep food hot (not just luke warm) for at least 8 hours. I have tried a few thermoses and have been really disappointed even if I heat the thermos with really hot water beforehand. The ones I have tried were pretty cheap plastic ones. I am willing to spend more money on a stainless one or some other material if it works decent. I'd just like to get some opinions before I plunk down my money on any one brand of thermos. Thanks :)
posted by GlowWyrm to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
The laws of thermodynamics may oppose your plan of the food staying hot for 8 hours.
posted by sharkfu at 1:56 PM on March 10, 2008


sharkfu, that's what I'm afraid of. :(
posted by GlowWyrm at 1:59 PM on March 10, 2008


You might want to look for a vintage Thermos with insulated glass insert and metal tube surround. They are abundant at flea markets and on eBay: you just want to make sure the seal is intact and that the glass inside is not loose or broken. You also have to be careful with these - if dropped or bumped, they do break.

But, despite the laws of thermodynamics, vintage Thermoses are awesomely powerful. I used to work on an unheated ship in the middle of winter, and I would make a Thermos of coffee at 8:30 AM and bring it in with me. Often, I would open it at noon - 1:30 and it would still be piping hot, and acceptably warm even at the end of the day, around 4:00.

it may help to keep the outside of the thermos insulated, too. I used to tuck it into a canvas bag with my sweater.
posted by Miko at 2:00 PM on March 10, 2008


I have heard absolutely glowing reviews of Mr. Bento.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:00 PM on March 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Eight hours is a long time. Don't know what your options are, but thermo-electric gadgets like this work really well. They can plug into a cigarette lighter.

I've also seen lids that you can screw into regular thermoses that heat up liquids as they are being dispensed. Perhaps that could help.
posted by nedpwolf at 2:01 PM on March 10, 2008


The one I recently bought was a SIGG 1liter thermos similar to this one (but in blue color).

One night I filled it with hot cocoa, screwed the lid on tight and mistakenly left it out on my kitchen counter. The next morning when I discovered it, I unscrewed the lid and the cocoa was still steamy.
posted by jmnugent at 2:05 PM on March 10, 2008


Not really Sharkfu-- you just need a higher quality thermos with a better vacuum, still staying well within the limits of universal laws.

I've heard Stanleys are amongst the best-- should have no problem with keeping something hot for eight hours.
posted by Static Vagabond at 2:09 PM on March 10, 2008


Seconding Mr. Bento. Use it here at work. Keeps food hot to the touch, even if I microwave it in the morning and eat it as a mid afternoon snack.
posted by ShootTheMoon at 2:09 PM on March 10, 2008


I have two stainless steel themoses of that brandname, one big, one medium. They are incredible, and have no problem keeping liquid hot for 8 hours or more. When I'm acting and we have 12 hour days, I would often open my thermos at the end of the day and drink the steaming tea I had prepared in the morning. BUT that is liquid, and not solid food. Solid food never stayed hot more than a few hours. Maybe preparing more soups or saucy foods that have a chance at staying hotter longer?
posted by typewriter at 2:10 PM on March 10, 2008


My REI stainless thermoses easily keep my morning coffee dregs hot enough to enjoy on the way home after 8-9 hrs at work.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 2:13 PM on March 10, 2008


Thanks for all the responses. They were very helpful.
posted by GlowWyrm at 2:21 PM on March 10, 2008


my stanley works incredibly well. I haven't tested it to that length but i doubt it would have a problem.
posted by DJWeezy at 3:02 PM on March 10, 2008


Nissan Thermoses keep liquids hot for an exceptionally long time. Those glowing reviews are not planted: I've burned my mouth on eight-hour-old coffee stored in one of these.
posted by svolix at 3:12 PM on March 10, 2008


Any vacuum thermos in the $20 and over range will work about the same. There is more to consider. To keep beverages hot, you don't want a lot of air space. A little liquid in a big thermos will not stay hot nearly as long as it will in a smaller thermos. So get a thermos just big enough for what you will have in it- and no bigger.

Look at the opening- is it big enough to get a bristle brush into for cleaning? Is the cap covered by a cup strong enough to not break when dropped?

I've gone through many makes and models over the years, and now use a Coleman wide-mouth daily. You can find them anywhere camping supplies are stored for something like $20. I would never again buy a glass thermos. They will last for exactly one drop.
posted by Patapsco Mike at 3:30 PM on March 10, 2008


I use one from Starbucks (like this one) and it keeps my coffee hot all day.
posted by nimsey lou at 3:35 PM on March 10, 2008


I love my Stanley. It was a lifesaver during the cold winter months, and I looked forward to opening a steaming hot 17 oz. container of soup every day so much that, I never got bored of eating the same thing over and over again.

My sister complained about her Aladdin thermos, so I gave her Stanley for Christmas - she LOVES it.

Another bonus- a few of their thermoses are designed especially for food, with wide brims. To me this is important, especially if you anticipate using your thermos for different dishes that tend to leave pungent flavors behind - the inside will be much, much easier to clean, so you won't taste one dish, while smelling another (yuck).

Here's their website: Stanley.

FWIW, I also have a Starbucks steel canister thermos. It was a bit pricey, but definitely worth it when I was still in school and wanted a vanilla soy latte at 3AM, without having to leave my desk.
posted by invisible ink at 7:54 PM on March 10, 2008


2nding the Nissan thermos.
I use one for coffee daily. Poured piping hot from drip machine at 0530 and I have often forgotten about it and drank it when I got home from work about 12-14 hours later and it's still hot. Kind of amazes me everytime it happens.

Granted this is melt-your-palate hot coffee when it is put in so YMMV with warmed food.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 7:59 PM on March 10, 2008


Zojirushi thermoses (thermi?) are amazing. The page I linked has heat retention times listed -- the one I own is sized between the two there, and keeps coffee plenty hot after 8 hours. I also have a Nissan thermos (one of the ones higher up the page) and it also keeps coffee hot all day. I don't know if they are made in the same factory or what, but the two I have are really similar except for the logos, and different plastic bits.
posted by Forktine at 9:14 PM on March 10, 2008


I stand corrected. I'm not a coffee guy so I had no idea drink technology kicked so much butt!
posted by sharkfu at 9:22 PM on March 10, 2008


The trick to making a thermos work at its best is to put boiling water into the thermos (to heat it up), then pour it out and put in whatever liquid you intend to keep warm. If you do this, a good thermos will keep your hot stuff hot for a good 15 hours.
posted by parilous at 9:35 PM on March 10, 2008


My REI vacuum thermos does a great job. I preheat it, as parilous notes. I'd expect any vacuuem thermos to do a good job at holding heat; Patapsco Mike has some good points about other considerations.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 12:11 AM on March 11, 2008


I can make a cup of tea in the morning with water that I've put in my stainless thermos at noon the previous day. Don't preheat with "really hot" water, it should be boiling. Let it sit for five minutes, then dump it out and add fresh boiling water. This works even at 5k-8k feet to keep your water hot. I've had this thermos for over 15 years, and it doesn't need to be babied.
posted by yohko at 1:10 PM on March 11, 2008


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