By Frank E. Vaerewijck, “The Firehouse Foodie”
“Membership has its privilege.” Remember that ad campaign? When I write those words, they ring true not because of some credit card but because of a unique breed of men and women who were able to combat the fear that paralyzes most people and overcome it with knowledge, bravery, and experience to become firefighters. Once you have had your trial by fire and earned your title, you were accepted into a club with a membership that spans continents–a Brotherhood that truly is worldwide, a club that you can go halfway around the world, stop in at any given firehouse, introduce yourself, and be accepted with open arms.
Whether you are career or volunteer, it doesn’t matter for the most part. There are those who feel if you don’t receive a paycheck, you don’t know what you’re doing, but there are many volunteers who have just as much if not more experience than those who are lucky enough to get paid to do the best job in the world.
This bond is forged by fire and earned through education, certification, and experience. You must put your time in to be fully accepted into the club by your peers, and when you join a new volley house or get hired somewhere new, just as with any other job, you have to let your actions speak louder than your words.
The Brotherhood is the glue that holds us together, and if you have witnessed a firefighter’s funeral, this is very evident. We have each other’s backs and never leave anyone behind. We never let a Brother down, Brotherhood above all else.
This month, I would like to share a little something I throw together that’s easy to make at the station or at home. It’s quick and easy and satisfies the craving for Asian food. Beef Teriyaki Stir Fry with rice is oh so delicious, and “That’s Bringing the Firehouse Home!”
Beef Teriyaki Stir Fry
1.5 pounds beef tips
1 bag frozen stir fry mix
1 can water chestnuts
1 cup uncooked rice
1 medium saucepan of water per instructions for rice
Pinch of salt (optional)
1 cup teriyaki sauce
- Boil water with pinch of salt and add rice to cook until tender.
- Brown beef tips in fry pan. Wen tips get brown on all sides, add half the teriyaki sauce and black pepper and cook until sauce has cooked off, stirring occasionally, so that tips do not burn or stick.
- Mix remaining ingredients in pan over medium heat and stir until vegetables are cooked and tender.
- Plate with rice on bottom and enjoy.
Frank E. Vaerewijck 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 Smithfield Volunteer Fire Department (yes, where the bacon comes from, THAT Smithfield). 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.