By Frank E. Vaerewijck
I recently saw a Facebook post from a friend who is a captain with the Arlington County Fire Department in Virginia. The picture was of a group of firefighters all working together to prepare breakfast. White fridge to the left of the room, stainless steel island with pots and pans hanging above, adorned with pancake mix, onions, coffee cups and mixing bowls. A gas stove on the back wall, a sink to the right with towels, and more coffee cups fill out the picture. Five firefighters are busy in the kitchen living the fire life. The caption for the picture was “breakfast prep in full swing.”
One of the captain’s comments, and the most poignant, was, “The firehouse meals and always-spirited table talk is about all I’m going to miss when I retire.” This is a very powerful statement.
It has been said that there is no other profession in the world where the first order of business of the work day is breakfast, and priority two is what’s for lunch and dinner. Though this is a tongue in cheek statement, there is some relevance and truth about it – that is the fire service.
Think about the last time you sat and listened to a seasoned firefighter and took in what they were saying. They talk more about the good times, the meals, and the people that made up their career, and not so much the calls that shaped their experience. They talk about the ones lost, the ones who made the most of a storied career and the most of a life given for service. Without a doubt, every single old timer I sat with talks about the firehouse meals and spirited table talk. “That’s Bringing the Firehouse Home.”
Pop’s Maple Pancake Syrup
- 1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Cup Water
1 Tsp Maple Flavoring
in a small sauce pan combine the water and all sugars, bringing to a boil. Cook and stir for two minutes. Remove from heat, stir in maple flavoring, let cool and serve with your favorite breakfast entrée. Refrigerate remaining so that you may enjoy some later, too. (Makes 2 cups.)