#774 Discovering those little tabs on the sides of the aluminum foil box

Subject of our discussion[digg=http://digg.com/educational/Kitchen_Secrets_Those_little_tabs_on_the_aluminum_foil_box] Put your hand up if you’ve ever accidentally yanked the entire roll of aluminum foil out of the box when you were trying to swipe a small slice?

My brother, if your hand is up right now, you are not alone.

See, I’m a bit clumsy in the kitchen, too. My oven burners are covered in burnt sauce stains, my sink drains are full of slithery, rainbow-colored bits of last night’s dinner, and my Tupperware cupboard looks like the Tasmanian Devil’s mudroom.

a-plague-in-your-tupperware-cupboardAnd add to these issues my apparent love of yanking entire sheets of aluminum foil clear out of the box. Honestly, I just give a little tug and out pops the entire roll, hitting the floor and rolling away while laughing its trademark crackly metallic laugh.

Yeah, just tell me that’s not a pathetic scene: cut to freeze-frame of tired-looking man in bedhead and sweatpants holding the edge of aluminum foil in one hand and an empty box in the other, then slowly pan down to a floor covered in a thick, shiny snake of metal crinkled across the floor.

Folks, the only thing that looks worse is the fat, crumpled rolled-back-up roll half-stuffed in the box after you tried to put it back together again.

Yes, we’ve all been there.

But guess what? High tens around the room, because there is hope for People Like Us. Shockingly, I have recently discovered those little tabs on the side of the aluminum foil box that hold the roll in place! Believe it, food preservation fans, because they truly exist.

The gas arrowYes, the little tabs on the side of the aluminum foil box can be indented so they anchor the roll in the box. Honestly, it’s a jaw-dropping discovery — like finding out your new apartment gets free Wireless or realizing there’s a little arrow in your car that tells you where to find your gas hole.

Now, whenever it was, whenever it is, whenever it will be: how good does it feel when you first discover those little tabs yourself? Give it up for a pretty good buzz.

So join me today as we give thanks to that modern miracle of the kitchen cupboard: those little tabs on the side of the aluminum foil box.

Also on Saran Wrap.


Witness the majesty and beautyPhotos from: here, here, and here

91 thoughts on “#774 Discovering those little tabs on the sides of the aluminum foil box

    1. I didn’t either! Just found them the other day and my life was instantly better for it.

  1. My mind?


    AWESOME – My relationship with tin foil will never be the same again. We’ll have a much more positive, healthy relationship now.

    However, foil and I already have a much better relationship than me and Saran-wrap.. I can’t get a flat, clean sheet of that if my life depended on it.. I always end up with a folded over mess, with no sticking power. But less focus on this negative stuff.. back to my blown mind.


  2. I’ve known about those for a long time, but the first time I realized they were there and knew that never again would my foils and wraps be out of the box they were meant to stay in, I could only think one thing.


  3. HA! Crazy, I just recently found out about this too! And yes, it sure is nice. Someone ought to make a darn book about all those little things people just have to find out on their own.. like what to claim for taxes when you first sign on to a job for the first time. (HINT: probably zero! Had a friend with no dependants who claimed 9 for some weird reason, and then freaked out at tax time. Silly girl.)

  4. OH MY GOD!!!

    I never even knew these existed! I just ran to my kitchen and checked the al foil, the glad wrap and the baking paper and THEY ALL HAVE IT!!!

    This is amazing! My mind has been BLOWN, officially.

  5. OH MY GOD!!!

    I never even knew these existed! I just ran to my kitchen and checked the al foil, the glad wrap and the baking paper and THEY ALL HAVE IT!!!

    This is amazing!

  6. Thought of a great one I’ve been meaning to post for a while…

    The final seconds of untangling a really big knot.

  7. OK, I totally feel like a short bus jockey. I had no idea those tabs were there, and I’ve been using aluminum foil for years. Each time I would need some foil I would slowly and oh-so-carefully coax the foil from its box so as not to incur the wrath of the gravity demons.

    You have changed my world.

    1. How sensitive of you to make a short bus comment. Did you not think that maybe someone one here has a a child, friend or relative that may ride a smaller bus?? Grow up.

      It’s intolerant, ignorant people like you that make the world a harder place to live in.

  8. It makes you wonder why they don’t activate these tabs at the factory… people might consume more of their product.

  9. ok. second comment:
    call me a dork but i just went into my kitchen and poked in all the holes in all my aluminim and sticky wrap boxes.
    and it was

  10. Better than the gas arrow! But buyer beware….. If you use No Name tin foil there are no tabs…. Sadly when i went to my kitchen cabinet to look for this i discovered two things……

    1. A crumpled rolled back up roll ( this was the left over remains from my battle with it last weekend.!)
    2. a shitty no name brand with out tabs…..

  11. Nice! My no name foil does not do this. I guess it’s time to pay up for my years of cheapness.

    Congrats on 3 million hits, Neil!

  12. If you use no name foil you can always make your own tabs. Just use a knife and cut a notch on each side.

  13. Holy crap. I seriously almost shit myself when I read that. I found that one time hanging out with all my friends. And when I started to tell them about my excited expression all that came out was ” I figured it out!!!” and noone thought it was as awesome as I did. They all still make fun of me for it. Awesome to know that other people think it’s as awesome as I did.

  14. This is so funny. I’ve been baking/cooking since I was a kid and gone through loads of foil and never knew about these tabs. And yes, I’ve had it fall out many times. Even funnier, I sent an e-mail to my family about these and none so far have known of them! :)

    Awesome! :)

  15. So there I am reading the article about your win (congrats) and decided to check out your site. My friend, you have changed my life! This must be one of the biggest secrets ever revealed! Thanks A Mil!!!

  16. I told me mum about this the other day and the look on her face was priceless. Poor thing… Imagine going through 63 years of life, fiddling with the stupid foil roll?

    As always, awesome entry into the ‘Awesome Things’ lexicon of… awesomeness.

  17. Thought this was awesome! Went to my pantry and was soooo disappointed, Alcan does not have a tab.

  18. I just want to say that I’ve NEVER had the aluminum foil roll spill out on me, but I read your blog and said to myself, “well, better safe than sorry.” So last night I poked out the little tabs and then proceeded to pull a sheet out for usage…Well the roll wouldn’t roll. It was as if it was glued in place. I yanked and I yanked to no avail, so I decided to re-flatten the tabs again.

    Well I thought I had flattened them and so I went to pull the sheet out, but the roll was still stuck a bit. However, I could feel that it wanted to give, so I tugged it a bit harder and then suddenly the roll JUMPED OUT OF THE BOX, breaking free of the tiny bit of tab that was not perfectly re-flattened.

    So yes, because of my using the tabs, my whole roll of foil came out for the first time ever in my life!

  19. omg- i did the whole roll coming out thing the other night – I had no idea that there were tabs on the boxes.

    thank you for enlightening me on this.

    can’t wait till I get home to BBQ and to use the tabs

  20. Huh??!! Who would have thunk that one!! AND I just discovered the little arrow for my gas tank about a month ago – and I still feel all cool about that discovery =)

  21. Hey I just seen them on my roll! Cool stuff. You are never too old to learn anything I guess. Im gonna try it tomorrow.

  22. Yikes!!

    not a clue these existed.

    finding such a life altering thing existed….awesome!

    …..everytime i open a new roll and click the tabs, i will smile and think of you….hugs,


  23. Whoah. That’s as much a paradigm shift as finding out that you don’t have to hold down your alarm clock set button for a full 24 hr rotation. (I never knew that pressing alarm set + hour button would change the time to 12:00 a.m. until a few years ago. Thinking of the accumulated wasted seconds!)

  24. Mine also has tabs/slots at the front to stay neat and closed. I just discovered these (and the side ones) recently. Handy!

  25. That’s hilarious – years of living as (what I hope is) a reasonably intelligent person who has cooked for himself repeatedly and had to save much of the over-cook to go bad in his fridge and I never noticed the tabs. :)


  26. i am almost speechless…..
    wow!! who knew?!?!?!?

    that is absolutely brilliant. i read this in your blog the otherday (maybe thursday) and since have told my mom, lisa and jenn…who knows how many other people’s lives i can complete now…..

    you are awesome!!!!

  27. I find it funny that only one person on here has said that they knew before reading this, and even that person admitted it was awesome.

    I showed it to my sister who got her Master’s degree from the Culinary Institute Of America, and she didn’t know! The high school class that she now teaches all know about this, and your site.

    Thank you Neil, and know that your contributions to society are being noticed.

  28. Haaa I thought everyone knew about those. I discovered them a while ago when I was a kid. It’s so funny seeing everyone’s amazement. I was a destructive kid so I found them when looking up ways to torture my younger siblings.

  29. I learned about this last year, and then forgot about it, since I don’t really have the problem of the roll falling out. What I do is pull the foil out slowly, upwards, applying a little pressure to keep the cover of the box from opening too far and to keep the roll inside.

    But it’s good to have that “aaah… so!” moment again. =)

  30. HOLY CRAP. I didn’t know this until now… I had to run into the kitchen and take a look at my tin foil. It’s a generic brand… and it still has the tabs! And I was able to pull out a sheet and tear it off perfectly. I don’t feel so silly now, knowing that it was a mystery for a lot of folks… and it was indeed an AWESOME moment for me. THANKS! :D

  31. i would love to meet and shake the hand of the genius who came up with this idea… and then give them a serious dead arm for not thinking to put brightly colored arrows with big letters on the top, bottom, and sides of the box, pointing to these wonders… hell, i think an international ad campaign is appropriate here… ill get on it…

    im gonna have to go home and see if my mom knows about this… maybe blow her mind…


  32. OH MY GOD!! Never noticed this before so I’ve just gone in my kitchen and punched the holes through! I’m going to tell everyone.And about the arrow on the petrol sign! I’ve learnt two new thing today…AWESOME!!

    1. lolls,that’s funny man,wish I dont have to learn about these things anymore,used to lear when I was a teenager and left that life 15 years ago now….huh…lolls..those were the days

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