Tuesday June 05, 2012 | 12:13 PM

Peanut butter sandwiches are easily prepared with a little help from a butter knife. Or a rubber spoon, if that's all the prison will allow you. Heck, a bare hand will do, should you find yourself sans utensils in the Maine woods, lost and friendless and with nothing but a jar of chunky-style to keep you company.

Thanks to the simplicity of sandwich preparation, I haven't had the need for fancier kitchen accoutrements over the years. Outside of a few ghastly pans and a garden-variety spaghetti strainer, my kitchen hasn't been given many gifts from me.

And while I'm still not quite sure where all my money goes (Pamola, things made with chickpeas and overdue fees at the library), it hasn't historically gone to buy titanium knives and other tools whose purposes continue to elude me.

Until I saw the lemon squeezer.

This contraption - unnecessary, I thought. Too big for the drawer, I scoffed - is simply magic.

I caught sight of it at a recent cooking demo, as it casually pressed a lemon into submission. The lemon didn't bother resisting. It had no time to call "uncle" before its juices were squished from its flesh. It looked like a lemon-juice deluge. My experiences with lemon squeezing (hold half lemon in hand, squeeze...squeeze some more...gasp for air...squeeze) produces only lemon-juice trickles.

I was captivated. And I wanted it - this silly, too-big-for-the-drawer kitchen thing. (Not to be confused with Smith & Wesson's Lemon Squeezer, which would just create a lemon mess and might be in violation of your parole.)

All these years, I never understood this wonder over whisks and Microplane graters. And there was no sadder thing than to hear a friend say, "I got new pots and pans for Christmas."

"How awful," I'd think. "Your family clearly doesn't love you."

But I'm starting to get it now. I'm understanding this enchantment with gadgets. And I think nothing says "We love you" quite like the citrus-crushing capacity of the lemon squeezer.

About the Author

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Shannon Bryan is a feature writer for the Portland Press Herald and content producer for MaineToday Media's entertainment website, www.mainetoday.com.

And here's a well-known truth: Shannon can't cook. She's also ostroconophobic (in Maine?!?), but in a foodie place like southern Maine, she's determined to learn how to cook, eat, and order with the best of them. Read about her culinary crusade:
Pans on fire

She's also an investigator into all that's strange and entertaining to do around here. Those findings are gathered here:
Out Going: Things to do in southern Maine

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