Monday, February 12, 2007

Firehouse Cooking 101

Come on in and gather 'round. I want to talk about firehouse cooking.

I have heard it said that firemen are great cooks. I don't know who started that rumor, but it's not necessarily true. Don't get me wrong, there are some firemen who are great cooks. Some have even been to cooking school and can (in some cases do) work in four and five star restaurants.

But for the most part, at least in my experience, we're just average. At least when we start. The longer we are firemen, the better we get. It's just from practice. Like I said a few posts back, eating is the one thing we do everyday we work. That means cooking. Usually two to three meals each day.

Now, obviously, we can't all cook every day. In my part of the world the cooking usually falls to the least senior guy on duty at that house. The least senior guy is almost always the youngest guy. If that guy can't make a decent meal, he's in trouble. The more senior guys often help, either physically, or with recipes, advice and instructions.

It seems that every fireman has one or two meals that he does really well. There are also meals that the entire department makes. Many times it is because that is what the old guys taught the new guys how to make, and they taught the newer guys and so on. Traditional meals. And of course, there are the universal meals that everybody makes, even at home.

Meals can be broken down into groups, such as;

  • Meals that could (almost) be found in a multi-star restaurant.
Things like crab legs, chicken cordon-blu, steak and lobster, veal parmigiana
  • Meals that are hearty, but fairly quick to make.
Homemade spaghetti, goulash, baked chicken
  • Easy and cheap meals.
Hamburgers, beans and cornbread/rice

You can take a lot of time with hamburgers and make them really great, and you can take some shortcuts with things like steak and lobster, so these groups are only generalizations.

My advice to a new fireman, or a new wife for that matter, is to learn one thing in each general category. Be able to make something quick like hamburgers, or spaghetti, and learn how to make something kinda fancy like chicken cordon blu. You can learn others as you go, but have something you can cook well without help.

Coming soon, cooking tips.

Mr Fixit

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