It’s that time of year. You know the time–the one when we take stock of the things we’re thankful for. Yes, we should do this year-round, but many of us don’t. It’s easy to understand why. We get caught up in everyday trials and tribulations, what’s wrong and not what’s right. And this year, for many of my online and virtual friends, there has been many hardships this year. Unless you’ve been living in a cave, the economy has been less than stellar this year. This has, of course, meant that many have lost jobs or had their hours cut–sometimes drastically. In many cases, this has also meant that much-need health insurance has been lost. It also means that, according to a recent report, 1 in 6 Americans have experienced hunger this year. And I’m not talking about people who have to go without dessert or must choose ground beef over ground round or chicken over beef. No, I’m talking about people who do not have enough food to eat. Period. As hard as it may be to believe, in this land of plenty, there are thousands of people who go to bed hungry from a lack of food.
Another thing a poor economy means is that some who have generously donated to charities in the past are unable to do so this year. Or perhaps their donations are drastically reduced. I know mine are, and I think that saddens me the most. This has been a difficult year for me financially, but I’ve been fortunate to be able to feed me and the cats who share their home with me. So, I will continue to make donations, but they will be much smaller.
There are many ways you can help feed those in need in your community and the country as a whole. Figure out how much the per person cost of your Thanksgiving meal is, and donate that amount to your local food bank or Feeding America. You might think that amount really won’t make a difference, but it will. Many grocery stores allow you to “round up” your bill, and the amount over is donated to a local food pantry. You’ll find many collection points for canned and other nonperishable food items. Pick up a few extra items during your next supermarket visit and donate them. You may make the difference between someone going to bed hungry and one who has had enough to eat.
Of course, there’s always places to volunteer your time. Many organizations have holiday meals; help serve or set up and clean up. Keep in mind that food pantries and kitchens often need volunteers throughout the year, not just at holiday time. Your help will be appreciated. You’ll make a difference in someone’s day.
So, Why Is It so Hard to Get a Good Can Opener
I don’t use canned items often, usually just tomatoes and black olives. I’ve been happy to use hand can openers on those rare occasions when I have to open a can that hasn’t been changed to the easy-open pull tabs. Because I use them so rarely, I’ve never really felt the need for an electric can opener. First, I don’t really have the counter space, and I hate unitaskers. Yes, I know that many electric can openers come with a knife sharpener, but I’m picky about what touches my knives.
For many years, I had a handy-dandy hand can opener. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked well. At least it did until recently. After many years, I finally had to admit that the time had come for a new one. So I replaced it. The replacement opened a few cans, with the emphasis on few. I replaced it with the one shown here. That can opener opened even fewer cans. What in the world had happened to the hand can opener? Have companies forgotten how to make one that works for any appreciable length of time?
Sadly, and kicking and screaming, I was dragged into the world of the electric can opener. If it was going to become part of my culinary life, the thing had to be able to do more than one thing. So, I looked around, did my research, and settled on the Hamilton Beach Openstation (I apparently have a thing for that company’s “station” products: my coffeemaker is its Brewstation). I suppose that technically speaking it is a unitasker, but there is an onboard bottle opener and jar opener. So far, so good. Let’s hope it lasts longer than my recent hand can opener purchases.
In a previous post, I mentioned that there is now a hand-held version of the Food Saver vacuum sealer. When I was looking for a can opener, I happened to see it at Target. It’s a nice-looking product, and the price was right at about $20. Well, it probably would have come home with me–if they had any. There were none available–not even a designated space on the shelf. There was nothing saying it would be out soon, just the display item. Seems silly to me; this would be a perfect time of year for such a product.
Oh, and there seems to be a conspiracy to make my Thanksgiving Day cooking more difficult. Besides my can opener problems, I broke my Kitchen Aid Hand chopper. Can I just say, “Crap”? So, I decided to replace it with the 3-cup Chopper. I have a 14-cup Cuisinart food processor, but this will be great for small things. Problems with my hands sometimes make knife work difficult, so this should be a great help. I REALLY wanted red but had to settle for white. My disappointment in that is, shall I say, pathetic.
Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!