By Frank E. Vaerewijck, “The Firehouse Foodie”
As the fire service gets bigger, so do its fire stations. The fire trucks and engines of today are unarguably bigger than the ones from yesteryear. Gyms, training rooms, individual bunk rooms, and big kitchens/dining rooms all add to the size of so-called McMansions that are larger than life.
Fire departments all over are running more and more calls from medical emergencies to fire alarms. This all lends to the fact that more personnel are needed, and with more personnel come more square footage and more equipment. Even today’s ambulances are aptly called “Monster Medics.”
It seems that gone are the days of small, close quarters where many sleep in the same bunk room, we all eat in the same kitchen or dining room, and–God forbid–we all sit in the same room and agree on what TV show to watch or, better yet, sit in the engine bay and talk well into the evening. As our jurisdictions grow, so do the stations we occupy. It seems as this growth occurs, we lose that closeness we once shared and a little bit of the Brotherhood of the fire service.
This month being the first month of the year, I bring you a recipe for the first meal of the day, one of my favorites, Biscuits and Gravy. Should you enjoy this awesome start of the day, with your crew sitting around a firehouse kitchen table or with your family at home, think twice about the size of the space you occupy and consider that sometimes the old ways aren’t as bad as they once seemed, and “That’s Bringing the Firehouse Home!”
Firehouse Biscuits and Gravy
1 (9.6-ounce) package of sausage (your choice of intensity)
2 ½ C. water or milk (I prefer milk)
¼ C. flour
1 tsp garlic
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1 (16-ounce) can refrigerated jumbo buttermilk biscuits
- Cook sausage in skillet over medium heat 5-6 minutes until cooked thoroughly, stirring frequently.
- In a medium saucepan, boil water/milk on high, reduce to medium heat once contents start to boil, stir in flour thoroughly, and mix garlic, black pepper, and salt. Add sausage, grease and all (grease is the secret ingredient, shhhhhhh). Stir and mix well. Serve over baked biscuit halves.
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.