Did I say “Stock”? Of course I meant this newfangled thing called bone broth. Stock is where leftover bones, herbs and water are cooked at a low gentle simmer for at least a few hours, the scum or ‘raft’ carefully skimmed off as it develops. It’s incredibly cheap to make, restaurants do huge batches, and for many culinary students, one of the first things you learn in school. Stock’s not a difficult thing to master, and is one of the building blocks of many other dishes.
In the newest thing called “bone broth”, leftover bones, herbs and water are cooked at a low gentle simmer for at least a few hours, the scum or ‘raft’ carefully skimmed off as it develops. What? That’s the same thing? How about if I kick it up a bit with some soy, or miso, an egg… maybe throw in some noodles? Oh… I guess that would make it ramen.
I’m being silly here, but no more so than this bone broth fad. It’s just stock, and it’s been around a zillion years. “Broth” usually means solid pieces of some of the ingredients remain… so maybe “bone broth” means there are still little bits, which would make it soup. I’m confusing myself, so let’s move on.
You may have heard that a new “Broth Bar” is opening in Portland at NE 6th street and Couch, right around the corner from the newest Ristretto Roasters. You can read the press release here. That reminded me of a story I read a while back, so I did some digging.
Stock Bone Broth is suddenly being touted as the next big health thing, with some people insisting it can do everything: rebuild your bones, reverse arthritis, make your body heal faster and more. From NPR’s The Salt:
The problem is that there are precious few scientific studies of the specific healthful properties of bone broth. What’s more, there is no one bone broth recipe. It can be made with different animal bones (some with fatty marrow, some without), with different added flavors (like onions and herbs) and with different cooking methods (five hours of simmering versus 24 hours or more). All of those variables impact the nutritional properties and will give you a different broth.
Still, [authors of Nourishing Broth] Daniel and Fallon Morell suggest that by boiling down animal and fish bones, skin, cartilage, tendons and ligaments, we create gelatin-rich liquid that provides the amino acids necessary to make collagen, or “the glue that holds the body together.” And, they add, “We need collagen to build the structure for a bone.”
Scientists agree that bone broth’s so-called ability to heal and restore collagen is probably overblown.
William Percy, an associate professor at the University of South Dakota’s Sanford School of Medicine, isn’t convinced that the collagen in the bones and joints that go into bone broth will do much for your skeletal system.
“Since we don’t absorb collagen whole, the idea that eating collagen somehow promotes bone growth is just wishful thinking,” Percy says. Instead, he says, the digestive system will break down the collagen into amino acids, and the body will use these building blocks wherever they’re needed.
The article goes on, to point out other flaws in the swooning claims of promoters. Obviously I’m no doctor, and I’m not a scientist, but I feel comfortable stating my opinion that other than rehydrating your body, and providing some of the vitamins and whatnot that you get from any good meal, it’s nothing special. The bone broth fad will be done in a few years; yes, it tastes good, but so do meatballs – remember when they were the next big thing? I wouldn’t be putting my money into a bone broth restaurant.