By Frank E. Vaerewijck
“Do a million things right and no one remembers, do one thing wrong and no one forgets.” This ageless statement is not only true on the fire ground, it’s oh so true in the kitchen too. It’s probably more true in the kitchen at the station, due to great efforts in Fire Prevention and the fact that we don’t fight as many fires as dinners that we cook.
As the officer on the engine I was always mindful of my crew. I helped wash the truck; I complimented my crew, making sure they knew how much I appreciated their efforts. Now I’m not patting myself on the back, but I do want you to understand where I’m coming from. It was a Friday night duty crew, like any other night with one difference: It was Meatloaf Night, and the whole crew was on shift. I had a tall order to fill and was up for the challenge. Brian, my driver and the oldest member of the crew, was already asking when dinner was going to be ready. Being that he was Moses’s driver, back when Jesus was the Fire Chief, I’m certain he wanted to make sure dinnertime didn’t interfere with bedtime.
I had all the ingredients, the oven was heated and ready to go, the time was right, and I was mixing my masterful creation with a short timeline in mind. Well my friends, remember when I just said I had all the ingredients? It turns out I had a lot of ingredients and with that, this was a colossal meatloaf! This joker was big enough to feed more than the engine in our house, but the engine down the street, the rescue, the ladder and the medic. As you can imagine, it took some time to cook.
Fast forward to three and half hours later, the colossal meat loaf was ready, the tater tots were covered in melted cheese and chives, and dinner was served…at almost 10:00 p. m. Remember the old guy? Yeah, I still hear about how he almost died of hunger that night; the colossal meatloaf dinner was well over a year ago. Do a million things right and no one remembers. Do one thing wrong, and these guys don’t ever let you live it down – and “That’s Bringing the Firehouse Home!”
Not so Colossal Meatloaf
Makes four servings
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (Do not buy more. Trust me!)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup milk
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/3 cup ketchup
1 pound Bacon (See Instruction #5)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- In a large bowl, combine the beef, egg, onion, milk and breadcrumbs OR cracker crumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste and place in a lightly greased 5×9 inch loaf pan, OR form into a loaf and place in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking dish.
- In a separate small bowl, combine the brown sugar, mustard and ketchup. Mix well and pour over the meatloaf.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. (Notice – not three and a half hours!)
- For an extra treat, wrap this thing in bacon before cooking. I like thick cut bacon. It’s good!
ENJOY and Thanks for being a part of the Firehouse Foodie Nation!