Food News

A Close Look at How Dallas Firefighters Break Bread at Fire Station 50

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I guess it would be silly to ask if firefighters ever set off their own smoke alarms. It's happened. Guys have forgotten to turn off the stove when they leave for calls.

Oh. That's embarrassing having to open all the doors to let the smoke out. No, they keep the doors shut and don't tell anyone. Usually stuff like that is kept secret.

Do you all go hungry often? Well, not normally.

What's the back-up plan? We've got peanut butter and all kinds of stuff. Just like anyone has at their house. If we get tied up with calls, sometimes we'll just save stuff for the next shift and go get a couple of pizzas, or whatever. We just have to figure it out as we go. Calls are the priority.

Are firefighters a picky bunch? They're really pretty easy. Most of them don't complain because they don't want to cook. If you're a halfway decent cook, they want you to keep cooking, so no one ever complains. If they don't like it, they just don't eat, but they wouldn't ever say anything.

Has anyone ever gotten kicked out of the kitchen? Yeah, it's happened, but I can't remember anything right off hand. Mostly it's only a problem if they just keep cooking the same thing.

Have firefighters tastes and preferences changed over the past 30 years? Yeah, we're trying to eat healthier now. It used to be that almost everything was fried and we had gravy with almost every meal. And homemade biscuits. All the stuff that isn't very good for you. But, a lot of the younger guys now want to eat more vegetables and less fried stuff.

Any major cooking disasters? I had an old lieutenant at Station 30 who wanted to bake a ham for us one day. He basted this ham and fussed with it all day. Everyone was really looking forward to this ham. He takes it out of the oven and gets ready to cut it and realizes he hadn't taken the plastic off. It was double sealed in plastic and he only got one bag off. He cooked it in plastic all day. We called it "Plastic Ham."

If you really want to see what it's like you should just come eat dinner with us one day.

What day and time? Sunday about 6.

I'll bring dessert.

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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.