Ditch the Saran: You Should Be Using Restaurant-Grade Plastic Wrap

If you’re a living, breathing human being, I’d wager that you have at some point in your life gotten frustrated with plastic wrap. Hell, you’ve probably even thrown some out because the roll inexplicably got tangled up inside itself. Well, I arrive here with good news, friends. There is a better plastic wrap out there that will free you from entanglement, flimsy film, and loosely covered leftovers. I have simply dubbed it, “restaurant-grade plastic wrap,” and it’s available for cheap online.

In its store-bought form, plastic wrap is a finicky and fragile product that rarely does what you want it to. It usually comes in a small, weightless, rectangular box meant to fit snugly into your kitchen drawer. This plastic wrap is ubiquitous and convenient to buy, but to me it severely lacks in functionality. You might often find yourself choosing foil over plastic wrap for this reason; foil has more strength and can be easily molded and shaped around the edges of your desired object. However, foil is easily breakable, and it’s not the best choice for keeping fresh produce or marinating meats. Plus, when used properly, plastic wrap is more malleable; it creates a tighter seal than foil.

I despise Glad wrap, saran wrap, and all aliases of store-bought plastic wrap. It’s flimsy, unruly, and cheap—I say, it neither wraps nor makes me glad (good luck recovering from that burn, Glad!), and its mere existence implies that we are all just comfortable with its mediocrity. Not me, though: I am here to take store-bought plastic wrap down once and for all. My biggest problem with it is the container. The base is usually a thin cardboard box that lacks heft; it’s so light that you have to hold it down with one hand while you pull out the wrap or you’ll pull the whole thing off the counter. Then with your other hand, you have to try and tear off a piece. As a result, you never get a cleanly severed piece of plastic wrap in the shape and size you need. At best, the whole system is sub-optimal. At worst—it’s a crime against humanity.

The aforementioned restaurant-grade plastic wrap, on the other hand, is a revelation. Also known as food service film, this wrap is used in restaurant kitchens across America. I would go so far as to say that not one restaurant in the U.S. uses the small box of Glad wrap. Really think about that. Instead, they use a giant roll of plastic wrap which usually sits neatly in the corner of the prep kitchen table in a stable, heavy box. Sometimes food service film will reside on a shelf, but usually it’s just out on the counter, ready and willing to do the job like a good soldier. Because of the heavy base anchoring it to the table, you can use both hands to neatly pull out and tear off a piece of wrap in the exact size you need. The razor-sharp metal teeth gracefully and neatly perforate the wrap without fraying or twisting it into a weird shape. As a result, you are able to wrap every corner of your tray tightly, creating an airtight seal without any added frustration. Kitchens are, after all, frustrating enough. 

This restaurant-grade plastic wrap is often labeled “film,” and that’s because it is thicker and sturdier than Saran wrap. In addition to being a better, more durable product for wrapping food, another benefit of this wrap is cost. This box of Reynolds restaurant-grade plastic wrap, for $30, comes with 2,000 feet of plastic. Compare that to this box of Glad wrap which costs $4.69 for 200 feet. You get more square feet of plastic for your money with the Reynolds buy, and moreover, you get a better, higher-quality wrap in a more efficient dispenser.

I can understand the convenience of storage. Maybe you like that you can keep your little box of Glad wrap in a drawer, out of sight out of mind. Me? I set up my home kitchen to look kind of like a restaurant kitchen—not because I miss making minimum wage, but because it actually conserves space and is more convenient. I’ve got a big ass white board on which I write out recipes, schedule deadlines, and make general kitchen notes. I’ve got a metal bar and hooks installed above my stove so that I can just gracefully select a saute pan instead of rifling through one of my cabinets. And my hefty box containing 2,000 feet of plastic wrap usually sits on the counter, or on top of my fridge, ready any time I need it. The kitchen, my happy place for thinking and solitude, is the last place I want to experience annoyance and hassle. That’s why I choose the thick, heavy-bottomed food service film over the flimsy, overpriced store-bought box of plastic wrap every time.

About the Author

Danny Palumbo

Danny is a comedian, cook, and food writer living in Los Angeles. He loves gas station eggs, canned sardines, and Easter candy. He also passionately believes that all the best chips come from Pennsylvania (Herr's!). If you can't understand Danny when he talks, it's because he's from Pittsburgh.

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