By Frank E. Vaerewyck,”The Firehouse Foodie”
As kids, we all look at firefighters as larger-than-life heroes who do amazing things. As adults, our thoughts of these men and women don’t vary much, but another fascination about these heroes surfaces: Rumors of home-cooked meals at the fire station that are the caliber of the finest gourmet restaurants run rampant in our communities.
Well, these rumors are not just rumors! Firehouses all over the world have some of the best chefs who have never set foot in a culinary institute. I have nothing against formal training, but boy oh boy, does their food taste as good! These men and women have a passion for cooking that shows in the aromas that pour out of the stations kitchen three times a day, every day. I get such joy when I’m cooking at the station. The interaction with the other firefighters, their telling stories, and jokes and sneaking tastes here and there–the family unity when we cannot be with our loved ones.
As The Firehouse Foodie, I will give you a window into our world through food–the tastes, the smells, the chance to “Bring the Firehouse Home.” In my 20 years in the fire service, I have eaten some meals that most people dream of, and as I watched and learned from these culinary masters, I picked up a trick or two. The recipes that you will see are submitted by firefighters and medics from all over the world. These are the dinners we cook in our homes, with our families, and in our House with our Brothers and Sisters.
A great quick and easy dip for entertaining or a predinner munchie is my Quick and Easy Cheesy Spinach Dip.
1 10-oz package frozen spinach
1 jar of your favorite 15- or 16-oz Alfredo sauce
1 Tbs. garlic salt
1. Heat frozen spinach in a stainless steel sauce pan with 1 inch of water covering the bottom of the pan.
2. Once spinach is hot, remove from burner and drain.
3. Place spinach back in pot and add Alfredo sauce and garlic salt.
4. Heat mixture over medium heat until thoroughly and evenly heated.
5. Place in glass bowl and serve with your favorite tortilla chips. (I like the TOSTITOS® ARTISAN RECIPES® Fire-Roasted Chipotle Flavored Tortilla Chips)
It is yum yum good, and that’s “Bringing the Firehouse Home.”
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.
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. He has been blessed with the opportunity to pass this passion through the Firehouse Foodie. 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.