Show and Tell: Recipe for a Friendship

By Frank E. Vaerewijck, “The Firehouse Foodie”

It’s a beautiful day; the engine, tower, and ambulance bay doors are open. The sun shines in, illuminating the chrome of the apparatus like something out of a movie or your favorite television show. Cars, trucks, and SUVs pass the front of the station with regularity. As one SUV passes, the brake lights come on, immediately followed by a turn signal, almost as an afterthought, and the vehicle makes an abrupt turn into the parking lot. Just a minute prior to all of this, as the mommy was driving past the fire station, her overly enthusiastic youth not only spotted the mesmerizing view of the fire station but had a mini meltdown preceding the advent of the turn signal. As the kids bail out of the SUV like Marines storming a beach in some far-off land, the Mom does everything she can to keep up.

As firefighters, we get to play with big toys–and really cools toys at that. When these pint-size people come in wanting to look at every shiny piece of chrome and glistening waxed paint job, who are we to deny them?

We take a lot of pride in our equipment, and anytime we are given the opportunity to show them off, we’ll take it. I really like when a firefighter or past firefighter comes calling and wants to look around, compare, or reminisce. This is another time when knowing your equipment really pays off, and it’s not bragging if it’s true. We all work in the best fire departments in the world, and we truly do love the job. It’s not about where you are in this big vast world but how you open your heart and station to the ones who love the job too, and “That’s Bringing the Firehouse Home!”






1 cup loyalty
2 cups kindness
3 teaspoons forgiveness
5 tablespoons time for each other
4 gallons honesty
1 cup faith




1. Combine all ingredients with love and affection, and mix carefully.

2. Stir well, and should you notice any lumps or flaws, handle gently and overlook as often as     possible.

3. Sweeten generously with a firm belief in each other, and keep warm with a caring heart and     a watchful eye.

4. Never serve hot or cold, just room temperature.

5. Let stand for a lifetime of special memories and, most of all, 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.

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