I can no longer open my food. It is good to know that our food still obeys some safety laws. Apparently things in bottles need either a plastic ring around the bottle top or a sealed liner over the opening once the cover comes off. Some companies choose to be really safe and use both protections. Although companies probably stick to these particular safety rules to avoid lawsuits, these precautions are helpful to us. Wide mouth jars must have an inner seal or be vacuum-packed. They have a little button in the center of the cover (like old canning jar tops) and if it is down when purchased, and if the food has not passed the sell-by date, then the food is safe; if the seal is up don’t buy it. This, again, is helpful. It saves on ER expenses, calls to poison control and lawsuits.
There was a time when it became popular to mess with food stuffs and medicines. People were finding things in their containers of food or drugs that did not belong there and did not come from the factory. Containers that were porous were found with needle holes in them. It seemed that people were tampering with our food and meds out of spite or to instill distrust in manufactured foods or who knows why people do these things. The Food and Drug administration moved to counteract this trend and make our food tamper-proof. While this is a sad commentary on the human condition it did seem to end food attacks at least until the next time someone has an axe to grind and some pretty creative new methodologies. I will say if it was a social commentary on overpackaging it backfired. Many of my foods are packaged so well that, as I already said, I cannot get into them.
I have had lots of trouble with pickles and I love pickles. Pickles are vacuumed-packed and the jars are fairly rotund. If you don’t have someone with bigger hands on the premises it is difficult to hold the jar and turn the cover at the same time. So while the jar feels like it will slip through your fingers at any minute I apply my little rubber mesh square to the task of opening the jar. Nope. That will not do the job. Forget the fancy jar opener device I bought in the kitchen tools aisle. I have two other options before I have to put the jar back in the cupboard. I can try to break the vacuum seal by prying the lid with a kitchen knife, but sometimes there is not enough room to accomplish the prying operation, and breaking the glass jar is a real possibility. I also find if you run the cover under hot water for a while (a messy operation that requires rushing to open the wet jar before it cools) the rubber mesh square will then successfully help you twist off the cap.
Everything is political but if you don’t like politics skip this paragraph. I know we have a government shutdown and a President who thinks (against military advice) that pulling all our troops out of Syria and Afghanistan is a good idea and that we are trying to make the point that a wall on our southern border is expensive, unnecessary and almost no one wants it. So my problem seems ludicrous in the grand scheme of things. But I still think my beloved salsa company would like to know that I have to switch brands because I cannot open their lid. I also do not think this is a problem that only affects women. Small hands are hereditary. Our President is rumored to have small hands. If he ever got near a kitchen he might have a problems opening jars and bottles. You never know when you will have to open a reluctant can or jar.
I feel like I am writing instructions for a 1940’s audience, as in certain sections of my mother’s oldest cookbooks. The problem seems somewhat archaic for the age of technology and artificial intelligence. All I am wishing for is some innovative food container solutions that satisfy our need to recycle and our need for food safety, but also our desire to actually access the food we buy. I know this sounds whiney and nit-picky, but the frustration is real.
Since we now have robots to vacuum our floor perhaps someone could invent a handy-dandy little robot who would open jars for us when no strong hands are available. Of course I have recently been reading a book about robots and I’m sensing this solution might end up being a bit pricey. Still all we need is a simple, cheap robot without any attitude. Think how well this would do on the Made for TV circuit. It has instant millionaire written all over it. You will be a minor hero to many and we may even get crafty and create a cute kitchen god to hang in our pantries in your honor. And I will finally not have to worry about opening jars and bottles and even meds.
Next discussion-security on our computers is getting so complex that we cannot access our own online accounts. Thoughts?