* Prices may differ from that shownMore Offers
Bored stiff at the thought of soggy, flabby sandwiches and super-chilled salads (all at extortionate prices when bought from the local shops and chains near work), I was hunting for a way of taking hot lunches to work.
Having done a little research, I found a Stanley food flask that seemed the answer to my prayers.
The Stanley brand has been around since 1913 and are renowned (like the other well-known Thermos brand) for consistently offering good quality and strong durability in its products. This is supported in this food flask which comes backed with a lifetime guarantee! Any flask which the makers claim can last me 25 years with no issues is a great endorsement I feel.
~*~* Where to buy and prices *~*~
I bought my food flask from John Lewis in a gorgeous, hot pink colour, however I have noted the same flasks on sale at Amazon for the same price of about £18 in a lovely sage green colour and Lakeland.
~*~* The design *~*~
The flask has a lovely, robust design. The flask is about 19cm tall and has a width of 9.7cm. The capacity of the flask is 0.5litres which is more than enough for one person for a meal and, when empty, weighs 550g. The flask consists of a shiny, silver outer lid with a thick black rim which screws onto the top of the flask - this doubles as a bowl for the food contents.
Once this is unscrewed, the actual inner lid can be seen - this is made of black plastic with a thick rubber seal which screws tightly into the top of the flask. This is easy to screw into place and appears leak-proof and air-tight (so the scent of your food does not escape). This also means that your food remains hot inside the main insulated chamber of your Stanley flask. This chamber has a double wall, unbreakable stainless steel inner which offers ideal vacuum insulation (and assurance that you'll not have nasty broken bits of flask inner in your food!).
The flask is a gorgeous design - I love the pink colour and I've had many compliments at work for the flask. The front of the product also has a cool Stanley logo 'since 1913' badge on the front which gives a distinctive look.
Unfortunately, the flask does not have a handle on the side anywhere, so this may pose problems if you have dexterity problems as you have to get a good grip around the wide flask to carry it by hand.
The flask comes with a set of care and use instructions (in a variety of languages) which are easy to understand and a note stating that the flask should not be used to warm or keep baby foods or baby milk warm.
~*~* The road-test *~*~
The product is designed to keep hot food hot (or cold food chilled) for at least 7 hours. The instructions recommend preparing the flask by filling with boiling water (for hot contents) or ice water (if you want chilled) and let this stand for 5 minutes before pouring out and filling with your own food.
I 'road-tested' my flask by taking some gorgeous home-made chilli and rice to work, heating the chilli and rice up in the morning before work (at about 6.15am) to ensure they were piping hot. It was easy to spoon the chilli into the warmed flask using a large serving spoon and to spoon the rice into the flask. The inner lid screwed on tightly with no problem and there were no leaks. I then screwed the bowl outer lid onto the top of the flask, wrapped it in a plastic bag (I was a bit scared of leaks!) and off I went to work.
I had my lunch at about 1pm, so a fair way after filling the flask. I found that the flask had remained perfectly leak-free and there was no escape of food aromas before I opened the flask. I opened the inner lid of the flask to find a little condensation from the food but was really pleased to find my chilli and rice were still wonderfully hot and ready to eat - such a fantastic (and filling!) change to horrible soggy sandwiches! I used the outer lid as a bowl, pouring and spooning the chilli from the flask into the bowl which was a really handy size for eating out of. I was able to retrieve all of the chilli from the inside of the flask using my spoon with no problems and no amounts left inside the flask.
The flask is very easy to clean by hand, as the lids unscrew easily and the smooth surfaces clean with ease. I've also noticed that the flask outer lid/bowl and inside of the flask do not retain any food scents or stains (an issue with some of the old-fashioned, plastic inner flasks).
I've since used the flask to take soup into work and I've found that this too remains wonderfully hot until lunchtime. The bowl lid is also very handy to dip bread into which is ideal.
~*~* The verdict *~*~
Overall, I'm really pleased with this flask - it has meant I have a 'ready to eat', hot meal at lunchtimes that tastes fresh and is healthy (rather than buying a supermarket ready meal) and means I'm not reliant on expensive chain lunch shops , work canteen or cold lunches brought into work.
My only criticisms would be that the wide design of the flask may make it hard to carry by hand (I always put mine into a bag to carry to and from work), particularly as there is no handle or carry strap, but this is a minor oversight I feel. I haven't tried the flask to carry chilled items, but if my delicious hot lunches are anything to go by, I'm sure it'll work a treat!
When I was working I made my own lunch to take to work, as I wanted to save as much money as possible. During the cold weather the prospect of a soggy sandwich for lunch wasn't all that appealing, so I bought myself a flask to keep my food hot until lunchtime. There was only one rubbish microwave at the last place I used to work and there was always a queue to use it, but with my new flask I could just tuck into my lunch whilst everyone else was waiting to nuke their food.
I chose the Stanley Food Flask as I associate the brand name with good quality as they have been around since 1913.
This flask has a nice wide neck so it's easy to fill and dispense your soup or whatever meal you want to keep warm. The capacity is 0.5 litres, which is plenty for a lunchtime meal. The flask is stainless steel and the screw on lid is plastic with a chunky rubber seal to retain the heat and it has never leaked. The cup that goes over the lid is a really generous size so it makes a great bowl to eat out of.
It does take some forward planning to use it, as you have to heat your food up in the morning and then transfer it into the flask. But this little bit of time and effort is worth it to have a nice hot meal at lunchtime and it really does keep food warm for 7 hours (something I was a little bit sceptical about before I bought it).
Now that I'm not working, I still use my flask to store hot water so that I can top up my cup of green tea throughout the day.
It can also keep the contents cold too, so it would be perfect to use for a picnic now the sun is shining!
It is quite a chunky flask and the one I have doesn't have a handle (I have read there are ones available with a handle somewhere!) so it's easiest to carry it around in a bag.
They cost £17.61 from Lakeland, which might seem like a lot of money, but it's something that should last many years.
A wide neck and a decent sized cup make them ideal for chunky broths and casseroles, with the contents being kept piping hot for up to 7 hours.