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Ideas requested as thanks to my Fire Dept.

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I didn't have the best morning - 5 trucks from the fire dept. at 8:15 a.m. is not a great way to start the day. Fortunately, a smoke detector and their fast response kept the situation from being terrible.

I'd like to make some food to take to the station as a thank you, but I'm on a *very* tight budget. Judging from how many people arrived at my house, it's a pretty big crew. Though I know snickerdoodles will do, I thought I'd ask for other suggestions that might be more interesting. I'm still a little rattled and, therefore, brain dead.

The problem is that $20 is the most I can do (which sounds awful considering they saved me, but I'm unemployed). Should I just do baked goods?

Thanks for any more interesting ideas.

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  1. What about something more healthy, like some homemade hummus or salsa? Was thinking these guys probably stay pretty fit for their job and might appreciate it, and a big batch would be pretty cheap. You could determine if you had money for chips, or let them decide what to do with it (ex: use as part of a staff meal).

    1 Reply
    1. re: jboeke

      Probably just me but I don't like homemade food gifts from strangers. Cynical maybe but you just don't know other people's standards.

      If I were you, I'd go to the bulk store and buy as much as $20 would get you of jelly beans or something cheery like that and Bob's your uncle. Besides these guys like to do their own cooking. How about a nice bottle of olive oil?

      Afterall it's the thought that counts.

    2. Baked goods are probably the most budget-friendly way to go - it doesn't get a whole lot cheaper than sugar and flour. If you wanted to do something a little more interesting, though, what about quiche? Eggs are cheap, and you don't have to use a ton of expensive cheese/cream if you don't want to - I've had perfectly tasty quiche made just with whole milk and a little cream cheese to add richness. A little sausage or other meat to flavor it, some onions or other veg and you're all set. Along the same lines, a breakfast strata made with homemade bread can be pretty economical and delicious - you could even cook it in muffin cups for individual servings.

      1. I know our local crew always appreciates cake.

        1. I'd go for the cookies -- they'll appreciate it, it doesn't require any special care, there's enough in a batch to make sure the entire station gets at least one, and they don't go bad.

          1. How about caramel corn? $20 should go far and the homemade variety is amazingly delicious. If you want to vary it, I have seen some recipes which use kool ade for flavor and color.

            Glad you are safe!

            1. soup, chili or stew can be very budget-friendly too. my restaurant (my employer) brings a big bucket of soup to our local fire dept. every few months and the guys love it.

              3 Replies
              1. re: hotoynoodle

                the firefighters I've known have complained that they get tired of chili and stew because that's what they make for themselves.

                YMMV

                1. re: sunshine842

                  my restaurant sends clam chowder. <shrugs>.

                  when the guys do have to show up for non-emergencies, somebody always mentions it and thanks us. even if it was weeks before. that doesn't sound like they get tired of gracious gestures.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    That's why I said YMMV....and indicated that there may be another opinion. Your guys like it; my guys didn't (I don't live in that community any more) -- just mentioning it so that people don't jump to a conclusion either direction.

              2. Homemade hummus or salsa is a good idea but I think homemade cookies are always a special treat because so few people bake any more. The firefighters may generally be eating healthy/staying fit but I bet they wouldn't turn down some cookies. Last summer a beginning tri athlete loved a hummus I made with fresh garlic scapes.

                2 Replies
                1. re: dfrostnh

                  "......so few people bake any more."???

                  You should check out the "What are you baking these days threads.

                  1. re: souschef

                    but that's on this particular forum, which by its very definition is self-selecting to include those who DO bake.

                    In the general population -- I'd say dfrostnh is correct.

                2. Thank you for all your suggestions. I called to make sure if they'll even accept food per millygirl's mention and he said they would appreciate it. He also clued me in that the same crew will be on duty at the same time on Thursday.

                  Might get up very early to bake an egg strata or quiche, Biondanomima -- great suggestion. Hummus and salsa also sound like great ideas -- I could make my own from scratch and lots of pita chips in my budget.

                  Thank you again for your suggestions -- you've sparked my brain again.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Terrie H.

                    Home made pita is easy to make, and is a really special treat with hummus. You can make mini ones so you don't have to cut them into triangles.

                    1. re: Terrie H.

                      If you're going in the AM, why not cinnamon rolls or something else breakfasty?

                      1. re: tcamp

                        Thank you tcamp -- great suggestion. I also like the breakfast food idea.

                        1. re: Terrie H.

                          Okay now even I'd jump all over the quiche idea. How 'bout mini ones?

                          and as someone else said, thankfully you are safe and sound :)

                          1. re: millygirl

                            just a big strata or fritatta would be nice. am sorry, but i don't understand the female obsession with tiny food. especially when cooking for men.

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              Who said they're all men? My neighbors sister is a firefighter at a station with several women. She drives the big engine. (Used to scare the hell outta me when she'd drive by and honk to say hi to her sis directly across the street.)

                              Individual or "mini" servings can be very convenient when serving a large group of people who may want to eat at different times.

                              1. re: weezieduzzit

                                Thank you! Couldn't have explained my reasoning any better weezieduzzit!

                                1. re: weezieduzzit

                                  without getting into gender roles and public service jobs, and having been "more than friends" with a few firefighters, a biteful of quiche isn't going very far. if you want to bake them in normal or extra-large muffin tins that is something else and, while individual, hardly mini.

                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                    I second the strata. I started making them for the choir at church in between services on heavy Sundays and have since expanded this to feed a day camp that serves lunch as the main meal of the day for inner city kids. They are a huge hit with both groups. You assemble them the night before and then they bake for one hour in the morning. Day old bread and odds and ends of cheese, meat and veggies make the most interesting versions so they are budget friendly. They can be vegetarian or meat centric. The key is to use lots of volume in the egg milk component and season heavily.

                          2. re: tcamp

                            yep - i was going to suggest muffins. inexpensive to make, easy for the firefighters to eat at any time, and they don't all have to be there at the same time to enjoy the thoughtful gift.

                        2. Just checked with my local firefighters, and they do NOT receive any discount for food from local grocery stores or places like Costco or BJ's.. I was going to suggest a gift card for $20 or $25 if they could stretch that into something more generous.

                          Glad you're safe. Other ideas percolating. Like an upcoming holiday special for the FF at a local grocery. Got a call in to the admin office to suggest holiday special. Probably won't go over, but it only costs a phone call!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: nemo

                            Thank you for checking, Nemo -- I'm quite sad that there isn't a discount for firefighters from businesses in their own neighborhoods.

                            I appreciate all of your suggestions.

                          2. Brownies........

                            1. Do you have some ingredients already, or do you have to buy everything? These cookies won a Martha Stewart Cookie of the week contest and it makes around 100 cookies.
                              http://www.marthastewart.com/316883/g...
                              It makes a thin, chewy cookie, but you could probably do two batches if you have the time and ingredients. Check out a dollar store for a cute basket or container to transport them.

                              1. Just wanted to weigh in on this. I'm an EMT and a cop and people often drop off food for us...unfortunately, very few of us will eat it. It's often unhealthy and public safety is a very physical job. I don't really want to eat a heavy dessert and then get an adrenaline dump from a "good" call. The results aren't very pretty :) Plus, I have no idea what strangers are putting in food. The thing we most appreciate are really lovely homemade cards and letters. We have cards and drawings on our board from years ago. It's very gratifying to see that tangible expression of thanks. Are they paid? Write a complimentary letter to their supervisor. At work, those letters go in a file and get factored into our performance reviews. Hope this helps and I'm glad everything turned out ok!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Hobbert

                                  Thanks Hobbert - I contacted my cousin last night who is a volunteer EMT (the station that responded to me are also volunteers), and she also said a card is always appreciated.

                                2. I know my beloved Firefighters and have asked what I can bake them and they politely responded that to not take it personal but with all the whack jobs out there, they do not accept food cooked by 'strangers' and they throw it away.
                                  So, best bet is to buy a sealed package of cookie/muffins.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                    and that is so ridiculously sad, on so many levels.

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      Beach Chick sadly is right.We have a 40 year relationship with our old "FIRE HOUSE" in Chevy Chase so things are a bit different for me.A dog collar and bed broke the ice years ago.Then to a Christmas tree ornament when the White House ones were introduced,still on going.Next was cooking lessons after I made the "gag" motion when I saw an awful,not good bottle of salad dressing.ChCh is an all "paid" crew,rotation but they still had budget conflict for things like the TV,Stereo,first chest freezer etc.What good are meat donations if the guys can't store it.
                                      When we moved 3.5 years ago I had them call our new house,mostly volunteers to tell them that I was coming and was OK. pre-vetted if you will

                                      1. re: lcool

                                        My father is a BCC Rescue Squad alum. He and my mother are back cooking at the crab feasts and oyster feasts twice a year for the fundraisers.

                                        1. re: Terrie H.

                                          Bobby Golan,one of the earliest at BCC RS and I grew up in Kenwood together and my childhood "family Dr" just back from Korea was an early one also.
                                          What a small,wonderful world.
                                          Great crabs and oysters,KUDUS to your mom and dad for the continued good work.

                                          back for an edit.........NEIGHBOR sort of ,we 1 mile east from 28,Norbeck Rd&Layhill Rd

                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                        It's very sad..
                                        We lost our family home in one of the worst fires in US history in 2003 and though we have rebuilt our lovely home, the reality is very real and sad that my beloved Firefighters who have their own station in our community and know me well, will not accept any home made goodies...whatsoever.

                                        I'm glad that all you lost was a boiler.
                                        Best to you!

                                    2. so very sad for you,my sympathies are truly with you

                                      Most houses do cook and I do mean well.The always welcome list
                                      BREAKFAST CEREAL cold or hot
                                      COFFEE ,samplers,cans,it doesn't matter what major brand
                                      GIFT CARD any supermarket where you see their trucks while shopping
                                      The two houses I know best have to create personal budgets for many sundries,bedding,dog food,Christmas tree ornaments.Both groups clip coupons and shop on the smart as much as they can.They will truly appreciate anything you do,knowing first hand the suffering of your situation.

                                      Beach Chick is spot on about what will happen unless you are an old trusted friend of the crew.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: lcool

                                        Thank you -- fortunately, they responded so fast that there was absolutely no damage, except that the boiler (the offending party) is shut down and we have no heat.

                                        1. re: lcool

                                          The gift card idea is the best so far. Let them buy what they want. The amount does not matter; I'm sure they'll appreciate the gesture whatever the amount.

                                        2. Thanks to all for great ideas and advice. I woke up with an idea that I will make my homemade bread. Not sure why I didn't think of it before, and I just bought a new 5 lb. bag of flour last week. I hope they won't feel the need to toss it, but I think I will make it anyway. Considering making rolls.

                                          Thanks again!

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Terrie H.

                                            Sounds like you've def made up your mind but just seems like such a waste of time, effort and ingredients to me considering the comments above. I really do believe it will get tossed and that would be a real shame.

                                            I loved the idea of coffee beans and a nice card. Sorry but I could not not add my final thoughts.

                                            Best

                                            1. re: millygirl

                                              millygirl
                                              This time I think Terrie H. is Ok.
                                              She had a response to me that was a small world aha.She is second generation ties to the fire&rescue community in my response,also her's.We might live 10 miles apart in a county we have years of experience in.Although I think I am her parents age or older.
                                              If I had looked at her profile before rather than after posting I would have known.
                                              Importantly,baking is a healthy,positive outlet when going through the aftermath of an emergency and perhaps more affordable when unemployed.