firehouse cuisine

41
10
Joined Sep 23, 2002
I just wanna get a feel for your individual perceptions of the concept of firehouse food.
And how you formed those perceptions.
Then if you want we can go into it in a more factual approach....maybe a FAQs kinds format even.
But please...let me hear what you have to say about it.
 
846
11
Joined Nov 29, 2001
My perception of firehouse cuisine...

* Hearty
* Uncomplicated
* Holds well

Now before you get your hose in a knot, I know it's come a long way since that first vat of chili hefted onto a burner by a big strapping man.

The simple logistics of firehouse food must include holding power. We've all seen that shot of a bunch of firefighters leaping to their feet from the meal table at the beckon of the bell. Let's face it - souffles would not taste (or look) so good an hour or two after they come from the oven!

Casseroles of all different ethnicities - plus roasted meats with potato dishes...Italian ragus, eggplant parmagiana - Mexican Enchiladas - Irish shepherd's pie...While these might not be glamorous dishes, they all can be held or reheated without compromising flavor. Heck, some might argue they taste better after having sat for a while!

As far as the culinary talent level of firefighters - the contests and cookbooks speak volumes. The cooking contests really show off the talents of firehouse cooks because you can create a shee-shee dish for a panel of judges who don't have to jump if the firebell rings.

I used to live in Bensonhurst - there was a house on 60th street near New Utrecht Avenue...I think it was 247.
 
1,908
274
Joined Oct 28, 1999
I second that! I have seen many programs that feature firehouse cooks... and they weren't messing around! There is some real food happening. I think for many, they get to practice thier hobby amonngst their co-workers... great! The books, as well, expound on the talent that these guys/gals have in preparing food 'that works'.
Often, I find myself envious of this group of 'culinary misfits'. They prepare foods the suit their audience perfectly... not many of us can say that. Also, they work within immense paremeters - price, time, nutritional value, staying-power, etc. Probably some of the best unsung, qualified cooks out there.
 
5,192
296
Joined Jul 28, 2001
Many family members in the FD. NY. Saw my father cry twice, both late at night, a knock at the door to tell him he had lost a brother in a fire.
Looking back as a kid I can't really recall the specific foods but I can remember the table like it was yesterday. I'm not so sure that it was'nt the family type brotherhood that was more important then the food.
 
41
10
Joined Sep 23, 2002
My perception of firehouse cuisine...

* Hearty
* Uncomplicated
* Holds well

<see...it all depends on the group youre with...some groups dont cook regularly...for some groups who have someone willing to suffer the slings and arrows of unsungness, dinner is a good experience...covering all three above points. Some groups like eating when a guy busts his butt to put a solid meal on the table from scratch...like a good bolognese over fusili. Others would wonder why he bothers. Ive been on groups where dinner was a plate of on sale pasta and a jar of ragu. The one time I was asked to cook someones vacation meal (tradition has it that the guy on his last tour before vacation pops for a heavy duty good dinner)..which consisted...per his request..of shrimp parmigian over pasta. Woohoo!!! said I....til he pulls this five pound jar of rrraaaggguuu (gag me!) out his car. He expected me to doctor it up and use it. Well..nice guy that I am I did. Kinda took something out of it for me. One of the things I looked forward to the most when I got called for the Patrol was getting into the kitchen and banging out good solid restaurant quality meals. Some groups would see a good roast beast as tantamount to chateau brilland. Of course, during the summer heat, when you know **** well you could be stepping into full enclosure bunker gear and sweating buckets before you even get to the job...then you look for lighter food.>

Now before you get your hose in a knot, I know it's come a long way since that first vat of chili hefted onto a burner by a big strapping man.

<heeeeeeeeee....believe it or not...in almost six years on the Fire Patrol ( http://www.nybfu.org click skip intro then click fire patrol or the helmet) Ive only cooked the stuff once...only eaten it like thrice. One time it was awful. All heat no flavor>

The simple logistics of firehouse food must include holding power. We've all seen that shot of a bunch of firefighters leaping to their feet from the meal table at the beckon of the bell. Let's face it - souffles would not taste (or look) so good an hour or two after they come from the oven!

<that plus the fact that anyone who cooked souffles would probably never be allowed to cook again....though there was the time I stir fried marinated shrimp with lychee..and people complained their plates were starting...>

Casseroles of all different ethnicities - plus roasted meats with potato dishes...Italian ragus, eggplant parmagiana - Mexican Enchiladas - Irish shepherd's pie...While these might not be glamorous dishes, they all can be held or reheated without compromising flavor. Heck, some might argue they taste better after having sat for a while!

<not to mention such yummies as grilled Mako, grilled Lemon Swordfish, Crown Roast of Pork, my first pasta with a cream sauce...and better than Ive EVER had at a restaurant! Cheaper too! Oh and of course the best most tender creamy not crunchy round the edges lasagna E V E R !!!>

As far as the culinary talent level of firefighters - the contests and cookbooks speak volumes. The cooking contests really show off the talents of firehouse cooks because you can create a shee-shee dish for a panel of judges who don't have to jump if the firebell rings.

<see then Im one of the people that would question that being firehouse food. Its cooking...**** GOOD cooking by a guy or woman that happens to be a firefighter....but is it firehouse cooking? Know what I mean?>

I used to live in Bensonhurst - there was a house on 60th street near New Utrecht Avenue...I think it was 247.

<247 Engine it *is*!!!!>
 
41
10
Joined Sep 23, 2002
quote:
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As far as the culinary talent level of firefighters - the contests and cookbooks speak volumes. The cooking contests really show off the talents of firehouse cooks
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I second that! I have seen many programs that feature firehouse cooks... and they weren't messing around! There is some real food happening.

<Two members of one of our houses are professional chefs. On more than one occasion, when ones been Detailed to us for a tour, Ive happily surrendered my kitchen so he could cook. And a running joke from a house I used to be at was that when the one guy got made to Lieutenant....he was considering giving it back because he couldnt cook anymore>

I think for many, they get to practice thier hobby amonngst their co-workers... great!

<not always great if the guys imagined skills outweigh his actual ones ;) And trust me..it happens! Like the one year the Group (before I reported aboard) had orange (paprika) mashed potatos with a meal...or the equally infamous steamed turkey. The lady*s heart was certainly in the right place...adding water to the pan is the thing to do.....but not so much that the oven turns to a sauna!>

The books, as well, expound on the talent that these guys/gals have in preparing food 'that works'.

<check out The new Firefighter's Cookbook, by John Sineno...a Simon & Schuster production.>

Often, I find myself envious of this group of 'culinary misfits'.

<oh I GOTTA remember that name....thats GOOOOD!~)

They prepare foods the suit their audience perfectly

<wellllllllllllllll.....I dunnooooo. you wouldnt believe the list of *I cant eat* or *I wont eat* I have to put up with. Specially cuz of my own medically required diet. And some people cry like stuck pigs over the cost of a good meal. Most members of my current group wont blink over a 6 or 7 Dollar meal..but theres always plenty of food for the meal...and for overnight noshing. I recently served a 4.50 pasta meal where the guy ate like an anorexic bird and almost had a stroke over the cost. One of the first things a firehouse cook learns is youll *n e v e r * please everyone. >

... not many of us can say that. Also, they work within immense paremeters - price, time, nutritional value, staying-power, etc. Probably some of the best unsung, qualified cooks out there.
 
41
10
Joined Sep 23, 2002
Many family members in the FD. NY. Saw my father cry twice, both late at night, a knock at the door to tell him he had lost a brother in a fire.
Looking back as a kid I can't really recall the specific foods but I can remember the table like it was yesterday. I'm not so sure that it was'nt the family type brotherhood that was more important then the food.

<and now, especially, in the last year....the memories of the meals we shared with those we lost.....become so much more poignant. We, at the Fire Patrol, lost one member *that* morning. My fondest memory of him is that he liked my bread pudding. He was Detailed to us for a tour once a couple of years ago. A day I just happened to knock out a tray...its making me nutz that I cant remember what kind it was....Im anal about that...it does matter lol...
It pleased me no end to see him get one of the first pieces when I took it out of the oven. I always watch someones face for a reaction when they try something for the first time. Someone tells me they feel good from my food and Im their bestest buddy forever lol. He liked it...and went for seconds. Thanks Keith!
Same thing recently when I introduced one of my people to Sweet Potato Fries. When I mentioned to him (he usually asks ahead of time what was on deck for dinner) we were having them...he was like "Sweet Potato Fries???"
He bellied up to the table that night....and tried one....as usual I was watching his face...first came :rolleyes: then came :) ......then came me doing :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :chef: >
 

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