plastic lid burgers

Illustration: Florie Duhau

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Make Perfect Burgers
When Dan Charnas was doing research for his book Work Clean, he spent a lot of time in professional kitchens. One of the most ubiquitous tools he saw: the plastic quart container, which chefs use for everything from storing food to creating a spill-proof drinking cup (just poke a hole in the lid and stick a straw through it). Charnas also says the lids can be used to form beautifully uniform patties when you're making burgers—which, as any chef can attest, ensures even cooking throughout.

Try it: Scoop about a quarter-pound of ground meat onto the top of one lid, then place another lid on the other side, forming a sandwich between the tops of the two lids. As you apply light pressure, the meat will spread out to the edges of the lids yet stay contained; when you remove the lids, you will be left with a round, flat patty ready for cooking. (And if you're freezing the patties, put a lid between each one to make them easier to separate once they're frozen.)