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.
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."
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