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~Men! Who needs them?~
The days when women NEEDED men are fading. They're fun to have around, quite handy for taking out the bins and checking your tyre pressure once in a while but if push came to shove we could almost get by without them. My husband knows though that as long as the likes of Aldi continue to put the lids on their pickle jars with something close to magical seals, he has an ongoing role in my life. I warn him often that if anyone ever comes up with a jar opener that REALLY works, the male of the species will be heading for obsolescence. It was a brave and possibly foolish gesture on his part to pick up the Leifheit Ergofix Comfortline Jar Opener on a recent shopping jaunt.
If you think logically and dispassionately about modern life, there's not actually any great requirement for the male of the species. It might be less entertaining if we got rid of men, we women might have to work harder but science has given us pretty much the wherewithal to continue society without the physical need for men. Aphids have been reproducing by a process known as parthenogenesis for as long as there have been aphids - they're all girls you see, though once in a while they can pop out a male for a bit of genetic variety. With a good sperm bank and the occasional production of the odd male child, humankind as a species could rub along for a very long time - but only if we can get the lids off jars!
~Vorsprung durch Technik~
I've had so many wonder devices for jar opening and they've all been rubbish. I've got the battery powered ones that claim to exert zillions of pounds of torque, ones with evil looking metal teeth that still require me to call hubby to use them, and I've got through quite a variety of not so clever gizmos over the years. Why, I wondered, did he imagine that the Leifheit could succeed where all others had failed. He looked at me like I was stupid and told me (without hint of a smile) "Because it's German".
The Leifheit Ergofix Comfortline Jar Opener doesn't LOOK like it could change your life but for those people like my mother who have arthritic hands or even your average woman with a standard 'grip' strength, it could make a pretty big difference. I live alone during the week and am frustrated to say that on a number of occasions I've got half way through cooking my dinner only to have to stop and make up something different because I couldn't get the lid off a jar that I needed. At times like that you can just feel really pathetic and feeble. I can't help thinking that the suffragette cause could have been set back decades by a row of really tricky tight jar lids.
~Looks can be deceptive~
The opener looks very simple - it's a small device, less than 200g in weight, 24 cm long, 6 cm wide at it's widest point and 3 cm deep. There's nothing sticking out that could get caught on anything so you can chuck it in the drawer and forget about it. It's a tidy looking item with a white plastic handle and a red trim. The two jaws of the opener slot together and the outer side has a fixed split metal plate with a grippy rubber coating. The handle half has a rocking metal plate with just a little bit of give. It will handle jar lids up to 10 cm and because the handle pulls out, you always get the same degree of 'turn' regardless of the lid size. This isn't always the case - with some a small jar is easy but a larger one gets less torque.
To use the opener you pull out the rounded end on the retractable bar, slot the bar over the top of the jar lid with the white pieces on either side and allow it to spring back so that the lid is held lightly between the two jaws. And then turn. As you start to turn the jaws lock on, you hear a pop and with even the lightest of touch, the jar lid comes off. It works with both my left or right hand which might reassure the left handers out there. The first time I used it I asked my husband if he'd already opened the jar because I just couldn't believe how easy it had been. He looked smugly at me and reminded me about the superiority of German engineering.
I thought the first might have been a fluke so I dispatched hubby to find a load more jars and pop pop pop, the lids flew off without any effort on my part. I have a jar of American pickled gherkins, the big Jewish ones you get in delicatessen stores which has been unopened in the cupboard for more than ten years. The best before date was 2001 but I can't bring myself to get rid of them. The Leifheit failed - but the jar lid was right at the top end of the recommended size so I guess I can't hold it against them too much. Nothing else has touched it in that time either so maybe it's just a jar too far. And maybe we'll not write men off totally - just yet.
Prices online vary from £4 to £13 - so shop around. As if I needed to tell you that!