Convenient Food

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Baked Beans

It was a pretty amazing invention when you think about it, probably the best thing before and since sliced bread.  A simple container that took food transportation and preservation to a whole new level: the humble tin.

Tinned food is an asset; it’s ideal for emergencies and for those moments when the rest of the cupboard and fridge is bare.  Campers swear by the stuff but caravan-ers shake their head and mutter about towing weights.  You can have vegetables in and out of season, vegetables when you haven’t been to the shops all week.  You can have a meal in minutes.

Tin food.  Great stuff.  What a convenience.

But there’s a problem.

The usefulness of a tin is in its seal.

That seal stands between me and my food.

The tin opener and I are mutual enemies.

It hasn’t always been this way, although tin openers always have a bit of a temperamental reputation.  In the years of my independence, I’ve had to make sure that I have a soft-grip handled one for the moments that my paws get flimsy.  But recently it’s descended into all-out war.  It’s not pretty.

I latch the tin opener onto the lip.

This is usually the most successful moment of the entire operation.

It goes downhill from here on in.

The next trick is to turn the wheel.

I need at least two hands to turn the wheel.

Which rather begs the question of who is to hold the handle.

You need more than two hands to operate a tin opener.

Well, I do anyway.

So I jerk into an awkward dance between turning and holding.

You need to hold tight to get the teeth to bite in.

Guess what?

I can’t.

Not anymore.

Occasionally the teeth mush into the metal, I get hopeful.

Then everything grinds to a halt again.

There is a now a minute gap broken in the seal.

I can see the food.

I can smell the food.

I can touch the food.

(Well maybe with a pinkie finger if I really wanted to try and put my uncoordinated fingers anywhere near the chewed-up metal edges).

It’s at about this point that, having spent an inordinate amount of time in this messy, stressful, exhausting business, my attention is caught by some disaster-in-progress on the hob.

I am now divided.

Do I abandon the tin which is now either spewing or spitting liquid in my direction with each painful twist and jerk as I persuade, sweet-talk, curse and manipulate the opener or, left to its own devices, sits crookedly on the worktop, slightly more bashed than when it first left the cupboard, the tin opener jutting out, jammed in the rim at some impossible angle?

Well my reactions aren’t quite what they used to be.

And neither are my decision-making abilities.

The disaster-in-progress risks ceasing to be in-progress and becoming a too-late.

I swerve, mostly mentally, between one contest and the other.

I can’t cope!

I am overwhelmed.

I, the tin and the rest of the food need rescuing.  Urgently.

Having gone through this very exhausting and dangerous process several times in recent months, I have a new strategy: I don’t open tins.  That’s husband’s job now.

I admit defeat.

I give up.

Although not graciously.

But then there was a glimmer of hope.

Some food tins have ring pulls.

I can open ring pulls.

I am triumphant in my new found talent, a moment of victory and conquest.

I need two thumbs to lever up a ring pull.

This means that I need to clutch the tin, which suddenly has acquired the animate ability to wriggle, between my two wretchedly weak paws and still have enough length and stretch left to manipulate my thumbs under what transpires to be a stubborn, stiff piece of metal.

Sometimes my thumbs win the fight.

Sometimes I have to adopt something that proves that I am indeed a higher being: a tool.

I grab the nearest thing that seems vaguely appropriate, a dinner knife or a teaspoon.

The ring pull is stubborn but so am I.

And I am armed.

With a teaspoon.

The fight is won.

The ring pull is levered up, victory is achieved!

There is a minute gap broken in the seal.

I can see the food.

I can smell the food.

I can touch the food.

Like me, do you get a feeling of having been here before?

And that is as far as I can get.

The pride and jubilation of a battle won is quickly swept aside as the tin wins the war.  Again.

I am stubborn but I know when I am defeated.

I am defeated.

If I want to eat tonight, I will have to surrender; I will have to give the tin over to more capable hands.

Bitterness is not something that I easily succumb to.  Fortunately.  But there’s not much fun in being beaten by a tin of food.  And sometimes I’d just really like some baked beans.

Tinned food, hey?  What a convenience!

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8 thoughts on “Convenient Food

  1. Ha! I recognise this :) Spurs Fan opens the tins without a pull, and the spoon and I just about manage the ‘easy’ ones.
    Time to give up and have cake?

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