There are some things in life you take for granted that anyone should be able to do in the kitchen: Boiling water, heating up frozen dinners, and opening cans. Apparently, though, there’s some question about that last one.
A new video on YouTube from Cinemagraphy is sparking lots of discussion on the right way how to use a can opener. In the video, which has over 127,000 views, you see someone use a manual can opener in a vertical position and then flip the simple tool up to a horizontal position with the turning handle on top of the can.
The comments on the video range from surprised to disbelief to warnings. The discussion on this “new” way of how to use a can opener is less about if the method works than if it’s a good idea.
Several commenters were shocked by the revelation. One user commented that they “gasped at the 25-second mark” when the lid lifted off the can. We’ve all been taught the old-fashioned way, so this so-called proper way might take a bit of practice. Muscle memory is no joke; it can be a weird feeling if you’ve never opened a can with the manual opener in the horizontal position. My mother has a Pampered Chef can opener that is designed to be used that way and, I swear, every time I visit her, I have to ask her how to use it because it doesn’t feel right.
But know how is one thing. The safety of this method is another thing to consider. One YouTube commenter said, “Yeah, doing this turns the top of the can sharp, jagged mess and can cut some of the label.”
Over on Reddit, there’s a similar lively debate. Duff5000 said, “Sharp can edge but easy to handle lid. If you cut into the top of the can you end up with a sharp lid you have to remove from the opener.” Lazygrow countered, “It isn’t a big deal, but it makes much more sense to me to completely cut off the lid from the side and remove it. If you do that from the top it falls into the can.”
For the record, based on a personal experiment, the method shown in the video does work. The manual can opener’s cutting wheel bites into the can just below the lip of the tin can’s lid, making it easy to lift the lid off without that awkward pulling the sharp lid back or it falling into the can. However, instead of sharp edges on the cut lid, you have to deal with sharp edges on the can itself. If you try this method, don’t reach into the can for that last bit of food.
Of course, you can go high-tech on how to use a can opener. Electric can openers usually cut the can lid completely off from the top; so do specially-designed manual can openers like the Pampered Chef version. Most of both styles of can openers are built to leave a smooth edge for better kitchen safety.
What it boils down to (or cuts down to) is use the method that works for you. Or buy a fancy can opener that does most of the work for you. Either way, you wind up with dinner.