The ‘Brazilian’ Can Opener

Yes, today I am going to tell you a little bit about can openers or as they are called in portuguese abridor de latas. Why am I going to dedicate a post to can openers, or to be more specific, one type of can opener? To be honest, this can opener has given me a lot of headaches, took me a long time to master, and I have not seen it anywhere else besides Brazil. It has given my husband many an opportunity to poke fun at me because of my difficulty with learning how to use it. And lastly, every household in Brazil seems to have one of these simple can openers. So, if you are going to cook in Brazil you are going to need to learn how to use this abridor de latas.

1855 Lever-type can opener

1855 Lever-type can opener – the first can opener!

When I first came to Brazil in 2005 I was enthusiastically introduced to this can opener by my husband. I remember taking one look at it and saying “I prefer the normal one.’ Needless to say I didn’t learn how to use it in 2005 and only dared to try and use it several times in during the next eight years. You can guess that all of those embarrassing attempts resulted in me reaching for the normal can opener.

Now that I am settled in Brazil and on quite a few occasions have only had this can opener available to use I have had to learn to properly manipulate it so as to end-up with an open can. The first attempts were embarrassingly miserable. I tried to pierce the top of the can with the sharp blade-like end and couldn’t get it through the metal. Eventually I managed to pierce the top of the can and then struggled to cut the rest of it. Instead, I would jerk the can opener around, almost cut my fingers (if that is even possible with a can opener), and yell in frustration. But, eventually I managed to get the hang of it and now I am opening cans with this simple device in seconds!

To my surprise this is now the can opener that I first reach for when I need to open a can. Although I have now mastered the art of using this can opener I am still the butt of most jokes in the kitchen. My husband can’t refrain from having a laugh whenever I pull out this can opener to use!