Howard County Firefighter Kevin Weisenborn has become used to cooking for the group of guys he describes as “10 very picky eaters” that he regularly feeds at the local firehouse.
His firefighter brother, Barry Griffin, once worked as a chef in Washington, D.C. and both had inklings that their cooking prowess would serve them well one day— and, that day has come to pass. The two have made it into a national cookbook, “Playing with Fires: Firehouse Recipes and their Chefs.”
“I got a telephone call from Jackie Kotei, the public information officer for the Department of Fire and Rescue Services in Howard County, who told me that a cookbook was being published for the Fallen Firefighters Foundation and she asked me to put together a recipe,” Weisenborn said, noting that he happily submitted his famous Sun-dried tomato and basil chicken recipe for the new book, which is available for sale at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.
Griffin, who enjoys making pasta, counted it as an honor to be a part of the cookbook to assist the foundation, which is located in Emmitsburg, Maryland and whose mission is to keep the memory alive of those who lost their lives while serving others.
“I don’t really have a favorite dish, I just enjoy cooking,” said Griffin, who is married with two daughters.
Griffin says that he and his wife share cooking duties, but when asked whose meals his daughters enjoy most, the unabashed firefighter said, “Dad’s.”
The cookbook, which sells for $16.45, is a collection of recipes from firefighters in each state and several foreign countries.
From small volunteer responders to some of the largest departments in the nation, every recipe counts as a favorite for those who partake, according to the book’s authors, Washington State Firefighter and Chef Steven Siler and Jennifer Westerdoll.
With the introduction, “Life of a Firefighter,” the book contains the history of each firefighter organization with full color photos of firefighters in action, interesting facts and quotes about the fire service.
“Our department was selected as the finalist to represent the state of Maryland,” Kotei said. “Not only is Howard County the best in EMS and all hazards but now we are also on the map for throwing down in the kitchen,” she said, playfully adding that it might be time for a cook-off between Weisenborn and Griffin.
“I think we’d do better when we cook together,” said Weisenborn, who said he also enjoys preparing Rosemary Chicken for his fellow firefighters because usually there isn’t much time before an alarm sounds and the meal is quick and easy.
Each of the men is quick to reveal a menu for every meal.
“For breakfast, I like a nice biscuit and gravy and for dinner, anything with bacon such as a loaded baked potato, mashed potato, baby spinach, steak or chicken breast,” Weisenborn said.
For Griffin, breakfast starts with an omelet with roasted potatoes and perhaps kielbasa. “Dinner contains meat and potatoes, heavy cream pasta, spinach, chicken and herbs,” he said. Both agreed that when it comes to lunch, everyone has to fend for themselves.
For more information about the National Firefighters Association or the cookbook, visit www.firehero.org or www.PlayingWithFires.com.