A number of years ago I brought Christmas lunch to
(This post may contain affiliate links)
There were twenty-two mouths to feed and a handful of picky eaters, so the menu chose me, soup. To the voices of Bing Crosby and Amy Grant, I simmered tomatoes for chili and began to prep the star of the show, a cheese soup I'd dogeared months before. A riff on one of the kid's all-time favorites
The puppies were underfoot as I studied the recipe. My daughter rummaged through the fridge for the ingredients. “How much cheese do you need?”
I peered down at the cookbook. “It says five pounds. Oh, and two and a half cups of butter.” I walked to the front window to see what Wally was barking at (yet again)
“Five pounds of cheese?” She asked, “For how many servings?”
“Ummm .. twelve?”
We stared at each other in disbelief before I sent her off on a last-minute grocery run. Truth be told? It was the best cheese soup I've ever tasted, but neither of us could stomach more than a spoonful. We knew what was in it
I think of this (often) when everyone's online lives look like masterpieces. Their pots are creamy and decadent and simmered to perfection. And here I am, just trying to get the dog to stop eating out of the litter box. (Sally, leave it!)
I think of it lately, when I no longer make soup with copious amounts of cheese and butter. Instead, our freezer is filled with containers full of bone broth, and nourishment of a far different kind
Today Part III of a week-long series about bone broth.
In Part I – The process our family uses, along with a few tips and tricks we've picked up along the way. Part II featured a recipe (of sorts) for my mom's bone broth stew; one of the most incredible things I've ever eaten
It was hard to know where to start, and even harder to know where to end, when it comes to the benefits of bone broth. So I thought I'd share a few highlights. Those that have stood out to me during the many hours I've spent reading, and point you in the direction of some of my favorite resources if you'd like to explore further
What is the difference between Bone Broth/ Broth / Stock?
The difference between stock and broth is elusive in the bowl but clearer in the kitchen. Lots of people use the terms interchangeably, but strictly speaking, both broth and stock include bones and meat, with stock, having a higher percentage of bones to meat.
For those of us who make bone broth, the focus isn't the amount of meat on the bone. Instead, what the bones contain (think collagen, minerals and amino acids) because they're the source of the health benefits we're after.
Therefore, we'll eye the pot through the filter of how many knuckles, necks, oxtails, feet, and hooves it contains. Another telltale sign? Bone broths are simmered for a very long time, not only to produce gelatin from the collagen-rich joints but also to extract the maximum amount of minerals and other nutrients
Bone broth and cultures around the world
Around the globe, there are so many cultures for which bone broth is a part of their daily lives. There are financial considerations, they may not have as much money, and therefore use every part of the animal. More important, they're keenly aware of the health benefits
They know it's one of the simplest things for keeping their digestive systems healthy (which in turn improves the health of every other part of the body). Certainly we are what we eat, but more importantly, we are what we absorb.
Bone broth is incredible for hair, nails, and skin. It's also great for detoxing the body and improving our mood. It can help soothe the gut wall, repairing damage like leaky gut, and aid in digestion. In terms of beauty, some refer to it as the elixir for glowing skin. It's filled with protein, good fats, collagen, and keratin; all of which play major roles in strengthening hair and nails and lead to smooth, clear skin
Why did traditional foods (think organ meats & bone broth) fall out of favor and why are they making a comeback?
When pharmaceuticals came into vogue, and people started looking for “modern” ways of healing, they turned toward medicine and pharmacy. More traditional methods of healing went by the wayside as “processed” and “fast” became ingrained into our society. People lost sight of what is truly beneficial
“Before pharmaceuticals, there was broth” ~ The Weston A Price Foundation
How the invention of MSG contributed to the decline of bone broth
If there's one processed food ingredient that contributed to the decline of bone broth, it's MSG. MSG is an excitotoxin that makes food taste really, really good. It's quick, easy, and cheap. As food became a science, people said, “Hey, we can do this better.”
The secret to our grandmother's cooking? Sauces, gravies, soups, and stews, all the things people think are hard to make? They're really easy if you have homemade broth on hand.
When sourcing bones, do the best you can
The better the quality, the better the broth, and organic is always best. If an animal is exposed to toxins, they're far more likely to accumulate in the bones and organs. That being said, as the broth cooks, many of the toxins will leach out, float to the top, and be skimmed away
“I wouldn’t let the unavailability of the very best stop you from making stock. Even using a Costco chicken would be better than not making bone broth at all. I just don’t want people to obsess about it. I’ve always said that. Do the best you can.” ~ Sally Fallon
Flavorings for Bone Broth
With bone broth evolving from a prehistoric food to a cool Paleo drink, people have started adding lots of different seasonings like turmeric and chili flakes
A few that might be fun to try?
If you're into Asian flavors: ginger, lemon, and miso. Maybe add some nutrient-dense dulse seaweed for an extra mineral boost?
If you like spicy, a combo like ginger, lemon and any chili or hot sauce. My husband's been known to poach the egg in boiling broth and top it with a squirt (or two) of Sriracha
The great thing is, anything goes
Where to go from here?
Where can someone go to source the best ingredients? Who offers quality bone broth for sale? What are some resources (books, websites, etc .. ) if you'd like to know more?
( .. to be continued .. )
ps: This is Part III in of a week-long series about bone broth. Part I describes the process our family uses .. along with a few tips & tricks we've picked up along the way. Part II features a recipe (of sorts) for my mom's bone broth stew .. one of the most incredible things I've ever eaten. Part IV offers resources if you’d like to know more