Chafing dishes aren’t cookware so much as serving ware: They keep food warm for longer than the leftover heat in a cooking vessel would allow. They also keep the temperature low enough that the food doesn’t continue cooking while waiting to be eaten. There are dozens of makes and models on the market, but they’re easy and inexpensive enough to make at home.

Things You'll Need

Make an equilateral triangle with three of the bricks, with a hole in the center just big enough for the gel can.

Drop the gel can in the center of the bricks.

Make another triangle of bricks on top of the first triangle. Make sure the setup is stable before continuing.

Light the gel can with a stick lighter or long match.

Place the cake pan on top of the bricks and fill about halfway with water.

Put the other dish inside the cake pan. The burning gel heats the cake pan, the pan heats the water, the water heats the dish.