Firehouse Food Run
By day, I work for a busy IT company in Chelsea, a lively and foodie-friendly neighborhood in Manhattan. While I wear many hats in the office, one of my more appropriate-to-my-personality to do list items on a weekly basis is to keep our team of technically inclined dudes stocked up on snacks and beer – hard to troubleshoot computers hungry and sober, right? There is a grocery store right around the corner from my office that I frequent for said snack runs and as with most establishments in NYC, you find out sooner or later when you should go there and when you should avoid it like the bargain fish bin. At around 6:00p on any given night, you could make it to another state faster than you could make it to the front of the line. Granted, that state is NJ so who is the real winner there but the point remains: hit up the grocery stores in off hours in New York lest you be introduced to a line that circles the perimeter of the store and challenges every ounce of patience you can muster.
Being a wise and seasoned shopper, I have figured out that the sweet spot for this place is around 10:30 in the morning. I know that I must be right because of two things:
1. I’m always right, just ask my wife.
2. That’s when the guys from the local firehouse go shopping, too.
It is flat out one of my favorite sights. It’s usually three, sometimes four, firefighters, half-dressed in their gear pushing around a cart filled to the brim with all sorts of this and that, heckling each other as they go along through the aisles. The group is usually made up of a couple of baby-faced Probies (that’s right, I’ve seen Rescue Me) and a more seasoned looking chap who is the clearly the Executive Chef of the bunch. If there’s anyone on this planet with a little black book full of dynamite casseroles, my money is on this dude.
This is the quintessence of what a community is all about. Does anyone do it better than our firefighters? I wish more of us were able to sustain their crowd approach to meals. A group of 10 to 20 people, sharing the load of shopping, cooking, cleaning, having big communal family style meals, sharing the news and excitement of the day…talk about utopia! Or at least one solid step towards it. Look, I realize that I am over-romanticizing a basic errand that we all more or less are loath to do on any given day, but there is something innately friggin-awesome (technical term) about how these guys do things.
As this week’s post is dedicated to our firefighters, I’ve reached out to my two good buddies who happen to be firefighters in North Carolina, Bill and Scott, for their favorite firehouse recipes. Being alert and focused is paramount in doing such important and often dangerous work, so Scott has offered up a recipe for some of the tastiest coffee I’ve had in my life. The first time Scott made this for me was in Charleston, SC, the morning after a bachelor party and let me tell you, I needed it that morning. Badly. This recipe includes some ingredients that I have never had in nor ever thought to include in coffee, but good lawd do they work quite well, so jump in with both feet on this recipe and take my word on it if the ingredient list raises an eyebrow. You won’t regret it!
In Bill’s firehouse, meatloaf is king. This recipe is protein-packed to keep anyone going strong through the toughest of situations and so flavorful that it will keep you revisiting this recipe week after week. Check out the recipe today to eat like a well-fed hero!
In closing, let us all take a moment to reflect on and appreciate the important, and dangerous, work that these men and women perform willingly day in and day out. Please find a way to give back to these brave souls in any way that you can, even if it is just keeping the smoke detector in your home stocked with fresh batteries and plugged in despite it going off every time you cook. Not only could you save your own life, but you’ll also help to keep someone else out of a dangerous situation to try to rescue you from your burning bacon. Grabbing a fire extinguisher isn’t a terrible idea, either.