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By Frank E. Vaerewyck, The Firehouse Foodie

So which came first, the chicken or the egg? This philosophical question has been debated longer than any of us have been alive, and when this question was poised to me, the chef in me thought of an answer that vegans will reject and animal activists will boycott over. This is a food column, so not to offend anyone, but who the heck cares? They both taste great. Chicken is a great source of protein and is a very healthy one at that, until you bread it and fry it in artery clogging grease. Ironically, when most people prepare fried chicken, they use an egg wash to help the breading stick, so in this case the chicken came first but would not turn into that golden fried delight without the help of the egg whisked to a smooth consistency.

When going through fire school, you participate in live-burn evolutions, and it gets hot--sometimes so hot it is thought that you could fry an egg on the floor or any other place within the burn simulation building flat enough to place a cracked egg. One of my students once thought it a good idea, with the encouragement of others I'm sure, to bring some eggs and try out this theory. Now he was careful to keep this well-thought-out plan quiet around the instructors, but when many of his classmates were discussing the plan in his absence, within earshot of some of us instructors, his plan became flawed. Now, as I have written in the past, the fire department is made up of many practical jokers, and no matter what your status, rank, or position, we all love a good laugh every now and then. The student, that’s what we'll call him or her, placed these eggs in a front jacket pocket and became almost robotic in movement, being ever so careful so as not to apply too much pressure to the precious cargo within.

The plan was to break away from the group for a few moments and strategically place the cracked eggs near the burn pit, essentially cooking the eggs and joke to us, the instructors, about it later. Well once again, knowing what we knew, we were wise to this diabolical plan and were able to foil it: While walking around and checking the students’ gear for safety before entering the heat-filled atmosphere, one of the instructors crushed both eggs, causing them to become a liquid mess inside the student’s pocket. The fire room was in excess of 1,200ºF at the ceiling, so at standing level, it was at least half of that and a cool 400ºF at floor level. Needless to say, Scrambled Egg Student was on the menu after that evolution, and all the students learned a valuable lesson that day: The instructors know everything!

One of my favorite egg dishes that’s good for a Sunday afternoon snack, any holiday, or any family get-together is deviled eggs, and thinking outside the box has made these delights even easier to make--placing your eggs in a muffin tin to keep them from rolling around and cooking them for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, place them in ice water for 10 minutes, peel, and prepare. This is a great way to have those great hard-boiled eggs in your salads too with little effort, and “That's Bringing the Firehouse Home!”


Deviled Eggs Firehouse Foodie Style


  • 12 baked hard-boiled eggs (Grade A large, sliced in half lengthwise)
  • ½ cup whipped salad dressing
  • ¼ tsp hot sauce(or more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon style mustard
  • 1 tbsp minced green onions
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/8 tsp natural sea salt (to taste)



  1. Remove egg yolks from egg whites and place in mixing bowl.
  2. Add whipped salad dressing, mustard, curry powder, hot sauce, and minced green onion. Mix well, add salt to taste. Add more hot sauce, if desired, for spicier eggs; if you really want a kick, add a few hot pepper flakes.
  3. Use a plastic sandwich bag with one of the bottom corners cut off to fill egg whites with mixture.


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.



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