A "bain de Marie"
According to "LAROUSSE GASTRONOMIQUE" the term "BAIN MARIE" was originally a term used in alchemy which eventually evolved to refer to a water bath for keeping cooked foods warm without allowing them to cook further.
"IN THE CLASSIC CATERING KITCHEN A CYLINDRICAL BAIN MARIE (WITH A HANDLE AND A LID) IS USED TO HOLD SOUPS, SAUCES, AND CREAMS. THIS IS PLACED IN A SHALLOW RECTANGULAR BAIN MARIE DISH, CONTAINING WARM WATER, WHICH MAY BE LARGE ENOUGH TO HOLD UP TO TEN SUCH CONTAINERS. LARGE RESTAURANTS AND CAFETERIAS HAVE HEATED VATS ARRANGED ON THESE PRINCIPLES... IN DOMESTIC COOKERY, A GRATIN DISH OR BAKING PAN CONTAINING WATER IS OFTEN USED..TO COOK DELICATE INGREDIENTS OR MIXTURES, SUCH AS CUSTARDS..OR BAKED EGGS EITHER ON TOP OF THE STOVE OR IN THE OVEN. WHATER METHOD IS USED, THE WATER MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO BOIL IN CASE THE MIXTURE INSIDE OVERHEATS AND CURDLES OR CONDENSATION GETS INTO THE PREPARATION."
The Hall China Company of East Liverpool, Ohio has long manufactured wares for the hotel and restaurant market and this 2 quart cylinder may be adapted for many uses. Shown here, I have decorated it with the 'TREE PEONY" design.