Kitchen Frustration

While making peanut butter cookies this week, it occurred to me that methods for doing things in the kitchen have changed considerably over the past few years. Many small kitchen tasks have been transformed from relatively simple acts to time-consuming processes.

Let’s take removing the lid from the jar of newly purchased peanut butter as an example. This once simple procedure has become an event that merits a block of time scheduled on one’s calendar. In the “good old days,” a quick tap on the rim of the lid with a wooden spoon would break the seal and the lid could be easily twisted off. No more!

Manufacturers have developed a formula for semi-permanent lid-seal. At least from my experiences, this is what I have come to understand. For me, the process for removing a lid from a peanut butter jar still begins with tapping the edge of the lid. This is done with the hope that the rigid plastic will not fail and send red pieces of plastic to kingdom come. Of course, the lid tapping does nothing productive and I proceed to the next step.

Step two finds me holding the edge of the plastic lid under hot water. This action is accompanied by prayers that the peanut butter which now tantalizes me from inside the see-through plastic container will not melt and become gooey. Following the water bath, I grasp the cap with a rubber lid-gripper and grit my teeth as I attempt to loosen the exceptional substance separating me from my peanut butter. Still no luck!

My hand now aches and the imprint of the rubber grip, the latest purveyor of false promises, now covers the palm of my hand.

Step three finds Hubby holding the gripper over the lid and grimacing until the glue finally surrenders. I find it interesting that in this society of litigation there is no warning label on the jar. Though it would have provided no help with opening the jar, I feel that a label should have been attached to the jar warning: “This may be a two-person process. People with arthritic hands may be required to seek the help of another person while opening this jar.”

Now I can make my cookies. Not so fast! I am now faced with the removal of a metal-coated cardboard seal. But the manufacturer foresaw the problem this might cause and kindly provided a tab which may be pulled in order to remove the seal.

I have no reliable statistics on which to base this claim, but I’m relatively certain that when the tiny tab is pinched between the thumb and forefinger and moved in an upward motion as directed, ninety-nine out of one hundred times helpful tab escapes the fingers.

Now the help of my trusty pliers is employed and I use them to carefully grasp the tiny tab firmly and pull in an upward motion. It is at this point that the tab parts ways with the remainder of the seal. 

Frustrated and still craving peanut butter cookies, I retrieve the utility scissors from the drawer and proceeded to stab a hole in the seal while attempting to keep the scissor’s points above the level of the peanut butter and all fingers intact.

With deft precision, I finally make a neat slit across the seal and then carefully peel the seal away from the rim. Finally, the peanut butter is accessible! Before moving ahead with making my cookies, I put a teaspoonful of the peanut butter in my mouth and savor the creamy goodness.  Then I turn to the unopened can of shortening.

I’m so thankful for all of my recently acquired kitchen utensils: regular pliers, needle-nosed pliers, screwdriver, string, wire, and assorted knives. Bring on those containers. I’m prepared.


  1. I would laugh, but I feel your pain. In my world, though, the pb lid should be blue.
    (Even the interior sacks in the cereal boxes are getting unmanageable.)

    wv: pitio, as in "Pitio' people who have to cope with product opening."

  2. Vanilla, most things are hard to open. Grrr! Yes, pitio.

  3. I fell your pain, but I'd rather taste your cookies!!!

  4. Captain Nancy, come on out and i'll bake you some.