The dryer does its thing, spinning round and round. Without doing that other thing: drying. Our clothes enjoy the ride, and when it stops, they tumble out, damp and dizzy, begging for another go.

We used to indulge them in this endless game. Then we pulled the plug. We snapped: Go play outside. Lining up the clothes on a clothesline called for shopping and tying and drooping and retying. Plus untwisting the wet tangle of arms and legs.

Hanging limp on the line, the clothes grumbled, isn’t as fun as cavorting in the machine. Still, they held fast to their pins all day in the sun, and all night in the deluge. In the morning, sodden and sunken to mud-level, they achieved a breakthrough. They had deployed the old-time technology to time travel, reverting to an era when they were neither dry nor clean. It should have been impressive. But wasn’t.

Perhaps we need to study up on the low-tech lifestyle. Right after a grilled cheese as toasty, hot and heartening as flannels fresh from the dryer — one that works.



Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 8 minutes

Makes: 1 sandwich

1/4 of a tart apple, cored, skin on

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

2 slices sourdough bread

4 teaspoons salted butter, softened

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded

1. Toss: Slice apple into matchsticks. The mandoline makes quick work of this job. Toss apple and thyme.

2. Spread: Spread one side of each slice of bread with half the butter. Flip and spread the other side of each slice with half the mustard.

3. Fill: Sprinkle half the cheese over each mustard-face, pressing cheese in gently. Heap on apple/thyme mix. Close up sandwich.

4. Toast: If you have a panini maker, use that. Otherwise, heat a ridged griddle pan over medium heat. Lacking griddle, use a medium skillet. Set sandwich onto griddle (or skillet), top with something heavy (say, another skillet) and cook until bread is toasty and cheese has melted, 3-4 minutes. Flip, weight and toast the second side.

5. Serve: Slice sandwich in half. Munch.


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