Manual Can Opener
When I was a college student, my food storage consisted of a (very) few cans of food and packets of dried soup mix stashed on the top shelf of my dorm room closet. While they could never get me through any extended period, I felt security in knowing that I had a few meals up there in case I missed cafeteria hours. Apparently, I went through the dried soup first because I remember being hungry and having nothing left except my cans and realizing, horribly, that I had no can opener.
Whether you are a poor college student without a car or a parent with a houseful of hungry kids during a power outage, a reliable manual can opener is essential equipment for being able to use all those canned goods that you have amassed. Can openers are available in just a few different designs. My favorite style is the one above. You can pick up one that looks like this from the grocery store, but, unfortunately, the widely available Made in China models do not last long. Instead, spend the time and find one that is American-made. The price is the same, but the quality and durability are completely different. Search online for EZ-DUZ-IT, Made in USA Can Opener or Neaty Made in America Can Opener or check country of manufacture labels if you’re purchasing at a brick-and-mortar store.
Other options include a “church key” or pierce-style can opener, a military/pocket can opener or a side can opener that leaves a less knife-like edge. Apparently, you can also open a can by rubbing the top rim of the can for about a minute on a sidewalk or other flat concrete surface. Or you could to what I did: use a hammer and flat-head screwdriver to tediously (and messily) cut around the rim of the lid until you can pry it up and remove the contents. This exercise had the good effect of helping me to remember to purchase a can opener when I got home and to appreciate this humble mechanical wonder ever since.