Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tupperware Classics: Square Rounds

Of all the Tupperware classics, the Square Rounds are probably the most timeless and iconic. Whether it's the roomy 800ml size shown here, or the lower-slung 400ml version, it is a sorry kitchen that doesn't have some Square Rounds. Air-tight, water-tight, cool-looking -- perfect.

Once they were an all-purpose Tupperware container, but Square Rounds have really come into their own for freezer storage. The high-quality polymer material stays flexible at freezer temperatures, so a quick dip in warm water and a squeeze will loosen the solid contents with no need for a knife or pounding. The stackable design, seal with its raised lip, and slight tapering towards the base allow for maximum air-flow and quick freezing.

Originally both the container and the seal came in a milky white. The colours have chopped and changed over the years, and the font used on the seal has updated every few decades, from 50s diner-menu style through 70s bubble writing to today's Helvetica Bold. They went solid orange in the 70s (what didn't?), but they now have settled into a frosty white, with bold single-coloured seals. The current Freezer Starter Set consists of two each of the 800ml and 400ml sizes, and a longer Double Diner with their seals in orange, dark pink, and red. An audacious use of very similar colours together, but it works. Interestingly, the Double Diner name itself is a throwback to an earlier time, because it originally came with a divider, for use as a lunch box.

People sometimes say, "What is the big deal, Tupperware Man? I use plastic tubs from the Chinese takeaway, or old Flora pots. They are free." I am all for a bargain, but frankly I think Square Rounds are value for money. How many of the kitchens we grew up in still have Tupperware products that are 30, 40 even 50 years old, and still going strong, having paid for themselves hundreds of times over. I have to say I do also have plastic tubs from the Chinese takeaway: they are what I use when I send people home with leftovers. My Tupperware Square Rounds never leave the house.

If you buy Square Rounds now, they have a subtle (and for Tupperware, very rare) surface design: an abstract snowflake pattern etched all around the sides, as you can see in the photo. But otherwise they are identical to their 50s ancestors. I can stack some of my grandma's original milky white ones with mine, seamlessly.

Here's a Tupperware party tip: pour a layer of melted chocolate laced with a few drops of mint essence onto the seal, just enough to just reach the brim of the raised edges. Into the fridge it goes, and you soon have some classy thin mints.

D03 Freezer Square Rounds, 4 x 400ml: £17.65
D05 Freezer Square Rounds, 2 x 800ml: £9.90
D11 Freezer Starter Set (2 x 400ml, 2 x 800ml, 1 Double Diner 1.3L: £29.25

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