Nesbit: The right can opener can be a lifesaver
(As Thanksgiving Day nears, columnist Sharon Nesbit rolled out this highlight from 2013.)
I stomped into the store the other day to buy a can opener, one that really opens cans.
Face it, we are coming up on the cooking season, and many cans will be needed. Not all of us trudge in the from the field with our own pumpkin, brush the dirt off and say, "Think I'll make a pie."
Among the unanticipated hazards of old age — there are so many — is not being able to open stuff. If I buy a bottle of water, I must ask the clerk, no matter how grubby-handed, to open it for me. How many hours have I spent staring at pickle jar, longing for what's inside? And why, I wonder, is it the pickle jar that always refuses to open?
To access food stuff, I keep as many devices as the average obstetrician needs to deliver a baby — grips, channel locks, little rubber knobby doodads, pliers, pries, beer openers, dynamite, and about three can openers, none of which work well.
The other day, after cranking fruitlessly on a can of peaches, I stopped to massage my thumbs and inspected our trove of can openers. I realized they are all brands that Hubs brings home from the kitchen doodad store. (Hubs loves kitchen doodads, and ponders them in the same way that most guys buy car parts.)
But none of his can openers are— I probably can't say the copyrighted name — the old-fashioned can opener named because it used to swing away from the wall.
I have such a can opener in the Rhoda the motor home. Smooth and slickly efficient, it has never failed me. (Though Jean is not enthusiastic when I open a can of corned beef hash, which she regards as dog food.)
When you are out in the boondocks and a can of something is all you have, short of eating leaves and berries, my can opener is a lifesaver. Should the truck's hood get stuck, I expect I could open it with my can opener.
I researched online to find a store that still carries my favorite can opener product and found, that in addition to the hand-held, they still sell the old wall-mounted type. I expect it works best. You popped that can on there, cranked away, gravity helped do the work, and then you folded it back against the wall so the kids wouldn't whack their heads on it.
Everyone had a wall-mounted can opener. Every old sheep herder's cabin had one. You found them wherever people were likely to open a can of pork 'n beans.
I seriously considered the wall-mounted model, but came to my senses. What once served the kitchens of old, is not tolerated in the kitchen of today. No matter how useful it might be, we dare not sully the walls of today's granite and marble temples of gastronomy. You wouldn't want your kitchen to look as if food was actually prepared in it.
So I bought the hand-held kind that fits in a drawer. Come Thanksgiving Day, when the cranberry sauce needs opening, I will be a champ.
"Did you make this?" someone will ask. (I stir my cranberry sauce real well to get rid of those revealing can marks.)
No, I will say graciously, but I opened the can all by myself.
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