Firehouse Cooking, hot and a lot!

By Michael Morse

One of the greatest things in the day of a firefighter is mealtime.

We love to eat and put a heck of a lot of thought into what ends up on our plates. It‘s a long-standing tradition — firefighters gathered around the table in the day room, breaking bread and making fun of what they are eating. Even the most perfect meal is subject to ridicule from somebody. It‘s just part of what makes firehouse cooking so much fun.

Grilled skewers on the BBQ. (Photo/Pexels)
Grilled skewers on the BBQ. (Photo/Pexels)

It takes many different dishes, and personalities behind the making of those dishes to keep our firefighters healthy, happy and well fed.

Here‘s seven of my favorite:

1) THE HEALTH NUT
SIGNATURE DISH: GRILLED WILD-CAUGHT SALMON WITH STEAMED SPINACH

Fish and spinach, oh boy. This firehouse chef knows exactly what is good for optimal health! There will be no fats, no oils, no salt-sugar-gluten or dairy in any of these meals. You will lose weight. Starving people often do. You might live forever eating the way this slim, trim 40-year-old, 20-something-looking-chef does, but would you really want to?

2) THE HOT AND A LOT
SIGNATURE DISH: AMERICAN CHOP SUEY WITH BREAD AND BUTTER

How can you go wrong with 50% lean hamburger, tomato sauce, macaroni and maybe, just maybe, a red or green pepper mixed in with the chopped onion? When there are six to feed, make enough for twelve, and always go back for seconds! When it‘s this chef’s turn to cook, you best bring your own seasonings because while there is plenty of food, there isn‘t a whole lot of flavor.

3) THE CHEAPSKATE
SIGNATURE DISH: GRILLED STEAK AND ONIONS

If old shoes are on sale this person will buy them, marinate them for three weeks, grill them with ten pounds of onions –they‘re cheaper that way- boil up some week old turnips from the sale rack at the local grocery store and call it dinner. The cheapskate knows the value of a firehouse schedule. They know exactly where the off duty platoon hides their olive oil, their croutons, they‘re cans of green beans and their salad dressings and is not afraid to pillage the pantry closet in a quest to feed six people for under ten dollars.
 

4) THE GOURMET
SIGNATURE DISH: CRAB STUFFED PEPPERS WITH CAPERS AND A BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE ARUGULA SALAD

Who the heck would stuff a pepper with crab meat? The gourmet, that‘s who. And it‘s not as if he or she thinks these things up on their own, oh no, our friendly firefighter-gourmet chef Googles things like:

“How do I make a meal using exotic ingredients that no firefighter in his or her right mind will actually enjoy?”

The gourmet chef will actually be crushed when nobody eats their masterpiece. This is where the hot and a lot cook comes shining through. A fridge full of leftovers is great in case of an emergency.

5) THE PREPARED FOOD GURU
SIGNATURE DISH: ROTISSERIE CHICKEN WITH MACARONI AND CHEESE

The recipe is simple: hide the apparatus on the side of the market, dash in, fill your basket with whatever prepared food the market has conjured up, and a readymade side of macaroni and cheese and presto, meal done! If it‘s already cooked, the prepared food guru is all in. Chicken fingers, meatloaf, lasagna, rotisserie chicken — the options are endless, and price is not a factor. Bring your wallet to the table when the prepared food chef is cooking!

6) THE LIVE TO EAT KITCHEN WIZARD
SIGNATURE DISH: ITALIAN SAUSAGE STUFFED WITH PASTRAMI TOPPED WITH A LOVELY CHEESE CREAM SAUCE

Take one part heavy cream, two parts butter, three parts pure cane sugar, a few sausages, some Italian ham, some pastrami and a bucket of French fries for dipping, add two gallons of Ben And Jerry‘s Mocha Madness and viola, dinner is served! Never afraid of unhealthy foods, this kitchen wizard can make anything taste good just by whipping up a nice artery-clogging, heart-stopping sauce to pour over the meal du jour. Heck, this chef can even make leftover shoe leather and turnip taste good!
 

7) THE USE-EVERY-PAN-WE-HAVE KITCHEN DESTROYER
SIGNATURE DISH: HOT DOGS AND BEANS

Even when boiling hotdogs and heating up a can of beans, this chef manages to use every dish in the station.Somehow, some way the use-every-pan chef will use every frying pan, stock pot, portable grill, mixing bowl, utensil and deep fryer at their disposal. In most firehouses, if you cook, you don‘t have to clean. Therein lies the problem with my use-it-all firehouse cook.
Firehouse cooks are a varied bunch indeed, but as long as we are eating, we‘re a pretty content bunch.
 

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