There's a Correct Way To Use a Can Opener, And You Probably Don't Know It
Muscle memory applies to all sorts of things, from how you tie your shoes in the morning to the way you put on mascara. Who else is a wiggler? In that same tune, our skills in the kitchen are no exception. You probably crack an egg, whisk together pancake batter, or pour your cereal in a particular way without even thinking about it. Oh, and until now, most of us have probably been using the can opener the same way, which is supposedly incorrect.
According to handy hack finders on the Internet, we're doing it all wrong — and it makes a lot of sense. Who else has used the can opener only to be fishing out the top from the inside afterwards, risking a serious slice and stitches to the fingers? And then, you're never able to peel out the top anyway, even with a fork or knife? Apparently, the "correct" way to use a can opener eliminates those issues altogether.
What is the correct way to use a basic can opener? Well, it does not go sideways. It goes flat on top. Basically, instead of clamping the handheld tool onto the side of the can, so that the knob you're turning is aligned on the rounded side, you simply place the can opener on top of the unopened can. Clamp the round mechanical cutters onto the top (or lid) of the can, so that the tool is flat on top. Turn the knob to cut open the top, and you'll find that the entire top comes off cleanly (with no leftover lid) in one fell swoop. No digging required and no sliced fingers. See a demonstration in a TikTok video by @julie_eigenmann below.
Many users in the review and comment sections note that this can-opening technique reduces potential danger more than the old-fashioned way. However, it's important to note that this method is not inclusive to all can openers, such as electric or certain specialty ones, and you still need to heed any sharp edges of the opened can at all times.
If you still prefer your original method, there's no shame. As long as we all get our canned peas, corn, soup, or Rotel, right?