The Firehouse Foodie: Planning – and Bacon Jalapeno Poppers

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By Frank Vaerewijck

You can never overstate the importance of taking the time to plan. This is equally important in life and the fire service. Nevertheless, it’s surprising to see how many of us haven’t done so.

You might think that seasoned firefighters are familiar with every square inch of every building in their district. An impossible task, right? Well, not so much. We don’t have to memorize these buildings, because just as everyone has tools to help with their financial estate planning, security and retirement, we have tools for Pre-Plans, and Pre-Arrival Assignments.

If you die without a will or other testamentary documents, you die intestate. In most states, your estate can transfer to the state. Imagine working so hard all your life, thinking that you have left your family a nice legacy, only to have it sold off and the funds feed the state’s general fund Or imagine that your will gets wrapped up in court filings forever and ever by people you may or may not know. If you die in the fire service because you failed to plan, then you failed yourself, your crew, your family, and the brotherhood.

This a dangerous job, and being a career firefighter, I know these dangers all too well. Planning is an  integral part of this job. Planning starts from day one  of your initial training, all the way to your advanced training. Planning is checking off your equipment at the beginning of every shift, reading informational articles, and round table discussions at the dinner table there in the station.

Cooking is the same way. You have an idea of what you want to make. Take the first step in planning and find a recipe. Step two, shop for ingredients. Step three, prepare your dish. Step four, serve your dish. Step five, enjoy your dish. Step six, clean up. (If you’re cooking in the spirit of firehouse tradition, the cook doesn’t clean.) Simply stated, always, and I mean always, plan to be the cook – and “That’s Bringing the Firehouse Home!”

Bacon Jalapeno Poppers


  • 8 Jalapeno peppers
  • 1 Block Cream Cheese
  • 1 lb thick cut bacon
  • Pepper based seasoning


Preheat the oven to 425° F (220° C).

Halve Jalapeno peppers and clean out seeds

Fill shelled peppers with cream cheese using a small cereal spoon, filling the whole void completely.

Wrap the cream cheese filled pepper with one piece of bacon, wrapping completely, then place on a greased baking pan. (If you have a ribbed baking dish, use it, so that the peppers will not sit in as much grease.)

After all wrapped peppers are arranged on the pan, dust with your favorite pepper seasoning, and bake at 425° F (220° C) for about 30 minutes or desired crispness to bacon.

Let cool slightly and enjoy!

For a little extra added zing, stir up some strawberry jam vigorously until smooth and drizzle jam on your poppers. This is well received at the station!



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