By Frank E. Vaerewyck, The Firehouse Foodie
Every firehouse has pride, some more than others. My firehouse in Manassas, Virginia, is full of pride, and it shows every day. The station is going through a bit of a makeover right now that has included a new kitchen floor and a new custom table complete with fire company patches from the volunteer side and the career side on each end of the table with a giant number 1 in the middle. The words “Engine Company” are curved above the number and the words “Tower Ladder” are curved below the number. Recently a wooden number 1 was added to the wood work covering the vent above the stove adorned with the word “Engine” to the left and the word “Tower” to the right in old English font. These little things give you so much pride when you walk in the door.
Our Facebook page is full of Pride Pictures that get posted almost every day, pictures of our crews, of our jobs, and of our equipment. Pride in the “One House” even comes out in the preparation of dinner. Not so long ago, career staff member Brad was tasked with making dinner. Meatloaf was on tap this particular Friday evening, with a touch of company pride, of course, for Brad fashioned the meatloaf into a number 1. It was awesome!
While on vacation, member Bob Ellis visited the John Brown Fort in Harpers Ferry; the old firehouse houses an old hose wagon with a simple sign hanging on the back of it that reads “OUR PRIDE.” Bob states on his Facebook post, “Such a simple phrase can mean so much,” and he is so right. Even back in the days of hose wagons and horse-drawn steamers, pride overflowed from these fire companies.
In honor of Brad’s “One House” meatloaf, this week’s recipe is “Firehouse Meatloaf,” and that’s “Bringing the Firehouse Home!”
Makes 6 servings
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup soft breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup bottled pasta sauce with vegetables
- 1-2 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 8 ounces Italian sausage
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 2 ounces provolone cheese or 2 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed
- 2 tablespoons bottled pasta sauce (same as above)
- 2 tablespoons shredded provolone cheese or 2 tablespoons shredded
- mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350ᵒF
- In a large bowl, combine egg, bread crumbs, the 1/2 cup pasta sauce, garlic, and rosemary.
- Remove casing from sausage.
- Add ground beef and sausage; mix well.
- Press 2/3 of the mixture evenly in the bottom of an 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf pan (in any shape).
- Add cheese cubes.
- Add the remaining 1/3 mix.
- Mix the remaining ingredients and spread on top.
- Bake 55 minutes.
Frank Vaerewyck has had a passion for the fire service that has spanned 20 years. He has been a volunteer and career firefighter and is currently a firefighter/EMT with the Manassas (VA) Volunteer Fire Company. He has passed on his passion for the fire service through instruction and mentorship. That same passion he has for the fire service is shared with his love of food. In 2006, Vaerewyck won an Iron Chef-style competition sponsored by a radio station in Richmond, Virginia. That is where he also furthered his education by attending a Culinary Arts Program.
As the Firehouse Foodie, he has been compiling recipes to be included in a cookbook that will give others the opportunity to see their hometown heroes not just as firefighters, but as the firehouse chefs they truly are.