Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Yes We Can Opener

This weekend I was serving some roasted chicken which called for a bit of zing. Remembering that I had purchased cranberry sauce as one of my I'm-back-in-the-US milestones, I retrieved the can from the cupboard.

One small problem. I had no can opener.

Here I am in the land of Yes We Can; but No I Couldn't.

I had made the requisite trips to Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond to properly outfit my batterie de cuisine, but a can opener was completely off my radar screen.

Why?

When I first moved to Paris and set up housekeeping in my apartment, I acquired all the kitchen utensils I thought I'd need, including a can-opener [ouvre-boite]. That scrawny metal can opener hung forlorn in my utensil holder for the entire three years that I lived in Paris. Never once did I have to crank that knuckle-numbing knob: every can in France that I ever bought -- tuna or soup or marrons glacés -- had a pull-tab to open it. The can-opener, happily, was de trop.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I guess I assumed that this simply reflected an advance in canning technology and that now all cans worldwide had the same pull tab (and a much less scary edge when opened). Mais non.

What, I ask, could be so difficult about installing pull-tabs on all aluminum and metal cans? Why isn't it a standard practice in the US?

I can. You can. We can.

Hmm. Maybe in France the catch phrase should be "Yes we can can" and in the US "No we can't can."

14 comments:

Parisienne Mais Presque said...

I'm sure someone far cleverer than I could come up with some sort of French can can joke here.

Pull tabs -- yeah, I'd miss them too. So what are you glad to have now that you're back in the States, that you didn't know you'd missed in Paris?

Jake said...

The title of your post actually reminded me of an Obama themed can opener I saw one day - http://www.stupid.com/fun/OBCN.html. Too funny.

Starman said...

You may be starting to notice that the US is a bit behind other civilized nations.

Meg said...

It's a conspiracy between the can opener manufacturers and the canned goods manufacturers. If the former would just start manufacturing pull-tabs for the latter...

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Parisienne -- Nice question! Actually, I'd forgotten how much I love 20 Mule-Team Borax.

And PS I though I WAS being the clever one with the can-can joke!

Jake -- thanks for the link. I figured I wasn't the first to make a Yes-We-Can-Opener joke. Shoulda copyrighted the phrase, mebbe.

Starman,
Indeed. I guess I figured since the US has been able to immediately embrace encasing all consumer goods in inpenetrable plastic casing that something as simple as a pull tab on a can would be a no-brainer. Oops.

Meg,
Or just plain laziness.

Keyword said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Parisienne Mais Presque said...

I guess it just needs to be even more obvious for me, 'cause I was still stuck on the Obama reference.

I miss American canned chicken broth. I know that in theory I should be making my own and freezing it, but instead I throw bouillon cubes in everything and hope no one notices. Is this really how the French cook at home? You'd think Picard could help us out here, sheesh.

Junosmom said...

You know, I would never have guessed that! Very interesting. Perhaps it has to do with the factories already in place not wanting to retool or get new suppliers?

Starman said...

It's possible Junosmom has nailed the core of the problem. There is a similar situation in the wine industry where it has been proven beyond doubt that screw-top bottles are better for wine storage than corked, but there is strong resistance to the change.

Sou um balão de luz de nome apenas Marcos Aurélio Rondineli de Oliveira said...

A can opener? An ouvre-boteile?
Peut-être vous pouvez m'enseingner français, mademoiselle...
au retour je peut essai de l'envité a aprendre aussi portuguais, et on peut nous entendre mieux avec les latins, que parlen español...
I like you...
Old man, grandfather and happy, no further purposes other then linguistic...

Sou um balão de luz de nome apenas Marcos Aurélio Rondineli de Oliveira said...

And yet, on purpose of your, well, unbeleavable history, its completelly truthful, I my self had never needed there of a bottle oppener... when I was there, I never experienced the need of a other than the one for the wines, rsrs (I wish... lye as hell... I wish... Coca-cola was there, of course, the kill me if I had done a thing such as did not use my fellow reds there, for the pleasure ... relaxes. Laughing thoughts of mine... sorry..

Moira said...

Polly! I am one of Hadley's friends and I read your blog and you are updating so unfrequently now and it makes me sad!! (And yes, I do realize that unfrequently is not a word...)

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Hi Moira,

Thanks for being such a faithful reader! I'll be updating more frequently (less unfrequently), I hope, so stay tuned.

I'm never at a loss for something to say, but sometimes at a loss for the time to say it right.

cheers,
Polly

Political Promos Blogger said...

Check out the "YES WE CAN OPENER" in my latest post for the best of both worlds...

Locations of visitors to this page
Travel Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory blog search directory Targeted Website Traffic - Webmasters helping webmasters develop high value relevant links. Promoting ethical web-marketing using the time trusted pillars of relevance and popularity.