Home on the range

Cool relief for a hot mess

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The storm blew over a tree and the tree knocked out the electricity and the electricity — or lack of it — shut down the air conditioning.

You'd think that air conditioning would maintain a positive attitude — that it would keep on conditioning air — even in trying times. But no. No electricity, no AC. Who knew?

Not that I had previously given air conditioning much thought. It's one of those modern amenities, like running water, that are handy, but not, say, mesmerizing.

Lack of air conditioning, on the other hand, is appalling. Especially when it's 104. And breeze, in solidarity with AC, has walked off the job.

At 104, without air conditioner, or breeze, the scene shifts into slow-mo. Walking resembles swimming. Sitting resembles sticking. Air conditioning, and its correlate, refrigeration, seem not just handy, but ingenious.

We moved to the movie theater. We subsisted on a diet of Diet Coke and popcorn. We watched one megaflick after another. Even the one about the earnest, furniture-designing male stripper. In the company of our tender-age daughter. Desperation is a desperate business.

Days later, once the tree and the electricity and the air conditioning were back in business, we moved back home. We celebrated over tomato sandwiches, the earnest, stripped down rendition of the BLT. The tomato sandwich requires no refrigeration, no electricity and maintains a good attitude in weather crisp or soggy. It's a blast of summer, on bread. And especially good with the AC on full blast.

Summer sandwich

Ingredients:
Big, beautiful tomatoes, never refrigerated
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sliced white sandwich bread
Mayonnaise

Season:
Slice tomatoes into fat disks. Season with salt and pepper.

Toast:
Toast bread golden (if electricity is available).

Compose:
Slather 2 slices toast with mayo. Pile tomatoes on one. Top with the other. Munch.

Leah Eskin is a Tribune Newspapers special contributor. Email her at leahreskin@aol.com.
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