I am still confused about this Bone Broth phenomenon that
seems to be sweeping the "cool" folks…..
Bone Broth will cure all your ills digestive…..and
spiritual, moral and ethical.
I am so confused to hear people going on in the media (and read
them in print) about the difference between soups, broths, stocks and "bone
The very first cookbook that any classically trained (think “old”)
chef gets is Escoffier. Auguste
Escoffier was the most famous chef of the end of the 19th and early
20th centuries….he worked at the Savoy in London, the Ritz in
Paris. He came up with Peach Melba and
Melba toast….because he was having a torrid affair with Nellie Melba, the
Angelina Jolie of then. Escoffier
trained guys who trained guys who trained many of our modern “genius”
chefs. Think “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”
https://oracleofbacon.org/ In “Six
Degrees of Auguste Escoffier” I am a 2.
(Ho Chi Minh is a 1….having worked at The Ritz while studying in Paris
back in the day. Probably why being bombed back to the Stone Age for 30 years didn't bother him....compared to working in an Escoffier kitchen).
The Escoffier Cookbook runs around 1000 pages, and there is
very little hand-holding after the first dozen pages. Ingredients and techniques are assumed. Minimal guidance, because Escoffier assumes
that everyone has already had a rigorous, brutal French training in the basics.
This is old-school stuff, but I am old-school. Here are the first four paragraphs of the
most influential cookbook of the 20th century:
“Before undertaking the description of the different kinds
of dishes whose recipes I intend giving in this work, it will be necessary to
reveal the groundwork whereon these recipes are built. And, although this has already been done
again and again, and is wearisome in the extreme, a text book on cooking that
did not include it would be not only incomplete, but in many cases
Notwithstanding the fact that it is the usual procedure, in
culinary matters, to insist upon the importance of the part played by stock, I
feel compelled to refer to it at the outset of this work, and to lay even
further stress upon what has already been written on the subject.
Indeed, stock is everything in cooking, at least in French
cooking. Without it, nothing can be
done. If one’s stock is good, what
remains of the work is easy; if, on the other hand, it is bad or merely
mediocre, it is quite hopeless to expect anything approaching a satisfactory
The cook mindful of success, therefore, will naturallly direct
his attention to the faultless preparation of his stock, and in order to
achieve this result, he will find it necessary not merely to make use of the
freshest and finest products, but also to exercise the most scrupulous care in
their preparation, for in cooking, care is half the battle.”
In “normal” kitchens, nothing is wasted. Respect for food and labor is primary. In Basque country, restaurants like Mugaritz
and Arzak became the best in the world because of this. Apprentice chefs forage in the mountains and
meadows for wild herbs, mushrooms and flowers.
“Throwaway” ingredients like beef tendon and apple cores become
centerpieces of dishes. My chef friends
from Pais Vasco never had the joy of hanging with their grandparents as kids…..they
starved to death in the same mountains and hills that are now flooded with
Beyond that, it is really hard to make a buck in the restaurant
business. Food has to be great, which
means great ingredients, which cost great amounts of money. No chef in his or her right mind tosses any
part of any ingredient that can be used to that end.
Or….that is the way it used to be. Back in the day, all restaurants always had a
stock pot going…..more than one, usually.
Beef, chicken, fish, veggie.
There were specialty burners that sat low to the ground to facilitate
the handling of 20 gallon stock pots.
Restaurants that did not do lots of butchering even would order bones
and scrap meat from wholesale butchers to beef up their stocks.
In the vicious, highly competitive atmosphere of big-time
kitchens, the one safe job if a young cook needed a break was to stand next to
the stock pot. When Chef looked around
for someone to peel 20 pounds of garlic, a fine attention to detail in skimming
the big pot was a great dodge.
Apparently this does not happen anymore. Everywhere you turn there are instant
ingredients available that mimic old school techniques. I can’t think of any other reason for this “bone
Craze is a word not used lightly. A dear friend of mine is struggling to start
a business making bone broths for the farmers market crowd. She is paying $8 a pound for organic beef
Someone shoot me.
And if bone broth seems like the greatest thing you have heard of in years......you have been eating in the wrong restaurants.