The Cottage Smallholder

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The Old Lady Thing

old lady thingRemoving the lids from pressurised jars can be a problem. Growing up we watched, fascinated from the table, as my mother regularly knelt and banged an upturned jar on the kitchen floor to relieve the pressure. I always expected the jar to shatter. It never did.

Occasionally she managed to open them without going round to the Strong Man that lived next door. Those were heady times. People took real risks to open jars and bottles. Our kitchen door jam was marked with a long length of small compressed ovals where she had held the lid of a ketchup bottle and wrestled to twist it free.

Four years older than me, my brother always seemed a grown up. Eventually, in my mother’s terms, he must have become a man. As one day, she quietly passed him a recalcitrant jar. With a small twist and a gentle plurp the lid was removed. From that point, he dealt with all lids.

All was fine until he emigrated to Australia aged seventeen. Then it was back to the struggles of the past decade until my mum discovered a gadget that opened lids easily. I came home for the weekend and she opened the door, Jar Opener in hand. She called it the “Old Lady Thing”. She spent the weekend offering me unimaginable delicacies. This was a themed weekend, everything was from a jar. We feasted on pickled quails eggs and truffles. Each lid was gripped and carefully opened with the device. I was impressed.

I made wooden toys at the time, and had iron-grip hands. I found an Old Lady Thing in my Christmas stocking that year. It enjoyed a two year sabbatical in my cutlery drawer until I sent it on a reconnaissance to the Oxfam shop.

A few years later, I had abandoned the toys and reverted to normal-grip hands. I found myself banging jars on the kitchen floor and reached for the shopping list to write, “Old Lady Thing”. Danny was curious. He was delighted when I returned with the device. We use it all the time. A great stocking filler for everyone, with the exception of wooden toymakers.

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1 Comment

  1. kitchen equipment

    A lovely little contraption. Luckily my time at the gym has given me a firm grip, but if something has been in the fridge or if I have greasy hands during cooking… Its probably helpful to have something like this around in the absence of a kitchen helper.

    Thanks for sharing,

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