Number 10 can (plus a surprise Hibachi)

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Oct 2 22:28:35 UTC 2011

I should also mention--if you haven't already--that in college we always
referred to #5 and #10 cans as "oil cans" or, occasionally, "oil drums".


On Sun, Oct 2, 2011 at 6:27 PM, victor steinbok <aardvark66 at>wrote:

> There seems to be a combination here of disdain toward institutional food,
> in general, and mockery of large cans, in general. But I don't think, in any
> of these cases, the usage suggests specifically that #10 can implies lower
> quality of content. Where it happens, it's almost coincidental.
> For my part, I routinely get San Marzano tomatoes in #10 can from Costco
> whose quality is comparable to those in smaller cans in Whole Foods and the
> price is actually cheaper than one of those small cans. Similarly, there is
> no appreciable quality difference between *branded* #10 cans and the #2
> versions. It's the "white label" cans that you need to worry about, in which
> case, the mockery will be of generic products, not specifically of the
> content of #10 can. It seems there are several layers of sarcasm working
> here.
> VS-)
> On Sun, Oct 2, 2011 at 4:01 PM, Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at>wrote:
>> ...
>> My citations don't provide evidence that "#10 can" means anything other
>> than a can that is a size number 10, so today I tried to find citations
>> illustrating that "#10 can" is used to refer to poorer quality
>> institutionally prepared food.
>> Google Books did not provide any clear citations, but here are some in no
>> particular order that indicate that the word refers to cans of food in
>> general. They are followed by a couple of other Internet citations.
>> ...

The American Dialect Society -

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