By Frank E. Vaerewijck, the Firehouse Foodie
Oh, you’re a Firefighter? Do you know “So and So”? Sometimes you do, but more often than not, you don’t. For years, I would ask what department So and So worked for, or I would say, “Yeah, I think so, but I know so many people it’s ridiculous.” The truth of the matter is, though we tend to know the people in our department and a few from classes or other functions, there really is no master book of firefighters that we get after earning the title that introduces us to every firefighter out there.
This one time, in Band Camp, a little old lady asked me what I did during a conversation, and when I indulged that I was a firefighter, she immediately asked if I knew this person I had never heard of. I appoligized and informed her that I did not. That’s when she said in her cute old lady voice, “Well, that shouldn’t surprise me; he is a firefighter in Minneapolis, Minnesota.” Well, there you go. We were having this conversation in Winchester, Virginia. All I could think was, “Bless her heart,” as I chuckled and shook my lowered head with a grin on my face.
Being a firefighter is the best job in the world, and there are a lot of firefighters out there-paid firefighters, volunteer firefighters, strictly structural firefighters, wildland firefighters, aircraft firefighters, a mix of some, or a mix of many. Either way, we meet many in this line of work. Some we remember, others we can’t forget, but most of all, when we meet each other, there is an instant connection, a kindred Brotherhood or Sisterhood that transends all boundaries, and who knows, maybe one day, I will have the pleasure of meeting the firefighter the little old lady thought so much of that she thought to ask if I knew him, and “That’s Bringing the Firehouse Home!”
Smooth Cooked Bar-B-Que Chicken
Makes: 4 Servings
- 4 large chicken breasts
- 1 green apple
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 half sweet vidalia onion
- Bar-B-Que seasoning to taste
- Habanero seasoning to taste
- After rinsing, place chicken breasts in slow cooker. Place on high and cook for 4 hours.
- After 4 hours, slice onion and apple and mix into chicken, shredding chicken; add apple cider vinegar and cook for 1 hour more.
- Add Bar-B-Que seasoning and Harbanero seasoning to taste, mix well, and cook for 1 more hour. (Your favorite Bar-B-Que sauce can be added if you must, but this is your meal, so do whats right for you.)
- Plate on your favorite roll, with some banging slaw, 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.