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Texas, the Garden State?

It is as enduring a stereotype as...well, as Texas being cattle country and a red meat paradise: firefighters have a talent for producing great five-alarm chili and mountains of barbecued chicken. Yet, in the Texas state capital of Austin, a group of firemen has committed to not only a vegetarian firehouse menu, but a vegan one, according to a New York Times report. Their reason: one of the men was diagnosed with extremely high cholesterol, a potential sign of impending heart disease. So another member of the five-man squad, who was already a vegan and triathlete, convinced his partner to embrace a similar meatless regimen. Eventually, the other three team members signed on as well in solidarity.

Now, when they are on duty, the firehouse kitchen turns out seemingly un-firehouse fare like tofu burgers, soba noodles in healthy green sauce and pasta primavera (their website at has recipes). The menu has even earned Animal-Friendly Firehouse of the Year accolades from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a vegetarian-advocacy group not generally associated with anything in Texas except target practice.

Healthful, yes, but somehow lacking the visceral ring of "Five-Alarm Chili"...

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