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Can You Can (Open)? January 29, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in food, ideas, inventions, nostalgia, Wild West.

Lunch is always problematical for me. I would likely starve if it weren’t for can openers. But in recent years, the lift tab style of canned food is increasingly available. In fact, most cans now can be opened without using the mechanical snap-it-down-run-it-around opener. While some inventions like the safety pin are nigh on perfect (how do you improve on it?) this way of getting to food, while better than stabbing it with a Bowie knife, seems inefficient.

The current schema doesn’t require a can opener, either electric or manual (which I own–power goes out, I’m not starving!) But might there be something easier and/or better?

Years ago some bright guy in PR thought up the idea of an edible candy bar wrapper. Well, there had to be an external wrapper to keep the edible one clean, of course, and I don’t know anyone who sampled this fiasco that didn’t eat the wrapper along with the candy bar to see what it tasted like. Adding extra expense obviously wasn’t a path to fame and riches. I suspect the inventor and everyone who OK’d it were summarily fired. Or forced to eat the stock of edible wrappers.

But we live in a microwave world. Could a container be designed that would melt under microwaves, be tasteless and harmless (or maybe add flavoring and be harmless?) And reach a high enough temperature to kill any bacteria or smudgery on the exterior? This would save metal and disposal and not require a can opener of any kind. Or perhaps it could be hit with UV and then melted and prepared, though the microwave option seems more elegant.

Can openers date back to 1855 in England and 1858 in the US.

Out on the trail, openers tended to be knives jammed down into the air tights. Why complicate (and carry extra weight)? Peaches and tomatoes were put up this way and, I suspect a great deal of other fruits and vegetables as well but weight is always a consideration on the trail. Lugging a couple cases of peaches along, even with easy disposal of simply tossing the empty can over your shoulder, slowed you down and was fairly impractical. Better to shoot your dinner and save the peaches for special occasions.

Microwaving that edible can seems more reasonable all the time, even if you don’t leave behind anything for the dog or coyote to lick clean.

Can Opener (in case you didn't recognize it)



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