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Fri, Sept. 25

How woodcutter sandwiches came to be

Woodcutter sandwich filling is easy to prepare.

Woodcutter sandwich filling is easy to prepare.

I used to complain about filling the wood box every night. Last night while doing chores, I came to the sad realization that next year, filling the wood box will be crossed off the chore list. Our woodpile is dwindling fast. It is highly unlikely we will ever cut firewood again. Because of stringent Forest Service rules, it is nearly impossible to gather firewood any longer. When this woodpile is gone, it will be gone forever. We are converting to gas heat this summer.

It's ironic I'd ever be sad about a dwindling woodpile. When we moved into this house in 2003, we had our firewood delivered the first year. The second year, my husband decided to start cutting our own firewood. He ordered two chainsaws - one so my son could help - and so many accessories the UPS man asked if we were going into the logging business.

Many weekends, father and son would cut load after load of firewood while I stayed home alone, cleaning, dealing with laundry, ironing and watching lots of Lifetime TV. Eventually, though, I joined them on their woodcutting adventures. I like to cook and I love to pack picnics. Thus, woodcutter sandwiches were born from ingredients I had on hand one day. My son loved them and still does. He would happily cut wood to eat an unlimited amount of these special sandwiches. That lasted until my son discovered girls and no longer wanted to go woodcutting. I continually tried to entice him with woodcutter sandwiches. It did not work.

Last night, in memory of woodcutting adventures that have officially ended, I made woodcutter sandwich filling. What is awesome about this filling is it tastes great between fresh, whole wheat bread, tortilla wraps, on a bed of lettuce and can even be served elegantly as a tea sandwich. It's versatile and I've never had anyone say this filling tasted bad.

I make up most of my recipes and never write anything down, so this recipe is likely erratic, which is my life. My version of woodcutter sandwich filling follows.

You will need one rotisserie chicken, one bunch of green onions, a bag of red or green grapes (whichever is on sale) and Miracle Whip (if you don't think Miracle Whip is a miracle, substitute plain Greek yogurt). Remember the best tools in any kitchen are clean hands. Remove skin from the chicken and tear up the meat (I use only the white meat and feed the rest to the cat running underfoot). Finely chop the green onions and add to shredded chicken. Add desired amount of Miracle Whip and mix well. Slice grapes (however many you want) and fold into chicken mixture. Refrigerate thoroughly until you are ready to eat.

Last night, I used spinach tortilla wraps to dress our woodcutter filling. On the side I served gourmet coleslaw, which takes five minutes to prepare. You will need one bag of pre-shredded cabbage mix, one bunch of chopped green onions (yes, I love onions), one cup of chopped walnuts, one small can of pineapple chunks (drained) and coleslaw dressing (whatever is on sale). Open all the packages, throw it all into a bowl, mix well and refrigerate. Enjoy, and always remember some of the most elegant things in life are actually pretty simple.

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