Monday, July 19, 2010

Things For People Who Don't Like Things

Canned food with pop-top lids! Whose idea was this? If I manufactured canned food, I would realize that my product is not the favorite of most cooks these days - it's hard to compete with fresh-from-the-garden and flash-frozen produce. Knowing this, I would not antagonize my customers with these pull tabs that are guaranteed to break nails and create spills when they're finally tugged open!

My pantry isn't stocked with lots of canned items and I bet yours isn't either, but sometimes even the best cook needs a can of beans or crushed tomatoes or (as was the case recently when I made Russian Salad) canned pineapple. And canned fish may also be in your larder - either tuna, or some smaller, smellier fish like the ones being canned below in 1915.

As a side note - I'm going to think of this woman the next time I have a tedious job to do. Imagine having to arrange little fish in little cans all day! When you think of the pop-top can in this light, it seems a small thing, but the point is, until recently most cans were can opener ready. And while some, like the pineapple, can be opened with a can opener on the other end, many cannot. Take tuna - the opposite end is rounded so you're forced to use the pull-tab which (for me, anyway) guarantees a little blob of tuna flying across the counter. It's not like there's a shortage of can openers - they're widely available and cheap. And, as the ad below (from 1902) says, a sure method to avoid blood poisoning!

This is my message to you people who make canned food - stop putting pull-tabs on your cans! Go back to the standard can and let us use our trusty openers. After all, that's what Napoleon had in mind when he prepared for the Russian campaign by stocking up on canned food! And we all know how well things ended for him . . .

I'm off to open some cans while daydreaming of a vacation on Elba!


  1. Only one good thing about those pull tab tops: when you open a regular can, you risk the coconut milk or whatever coming in contact with the top of the can, which has been in contact with who knows what.

    As for canned fish, I love it, especially anchovies, though they're usually in a glass jar.

  2. That's a good point. I don't want to think about the tops of cans and where they've been . . . especially cans of things like coconut milk that stay on the shelves for months (at least in our local store)!

  3. Oh, I had to come back, because I really meant to leave a comment about the 'Candwich.' Who would ever think to can a sandwich and why? And then there's the 'Batter Blaster', which is a spray can filled with pancake batter. How hard can it be to mix it up fresh?

  4. That Klean Kut can opener has a strange pedigree. It was invented in Germany, and due to WW1, ongoing at the time, German patents were not recognized in N.A. So a clever little thief stole one while in a German, and upon returning to Canada he patented it and began selling them from his store in Winnipeg.

  5. His enterprising ways were noticed by his fellow officers who had graduated to British Intelligence after the war. After his business failed and mysteriously burned to the ground, he high tailed it to London England,(leaving his investors holding the bag of smoking ashes) where he posed a a successful entrepreneur/inventor on behalf of British Intel. During WW2, he served as the head of British Security Coordination in NYC (Canucks spying on Yanks for the Brits.)

  6. Some have mistaken him for the inspiration of the fictional super spy James Bond, but he was never a real field agent. He was known by the code name Intrepid, better known as Sir William Stephenson, of Winnipeg Manitoba.

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