Bone broth: it’s not just soup that a fairytale giant might make with the remnants of your skeleton, it’s also the latest trend in “mindful” eating. Thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Colicchio, and even a New York Times story on the subject, it seems that the idea of bone broth as a healing cup o’ something has officially picked up steam.
But we, as members of the unenlightened, solid-food eating public, have so many questions.
Like, is this the same thing as soup stock? Aren’t bones in every type of stock? Will I be initiated into some cannibalistic secret society against my will if I order it?
A quick Google search of the term returns results like “Bone Broth: How to Make it and Why it’s Good;” “Bone Broth Benefits for Digestion, Arthritis and Cellulite;” and “Is Bone Broth the New Superfood?”
Enthusiasts of this golden consommé claim it has the ability to make your hair shiny, sooth your gut and eliminate the aches and pains of stiff joints. To answer our first question yes, it’s stock. It is made from the bones and/ or carcass of an animal, water, carrots, onion and celery (or mirepoix to my snooty culinary brethren,) tomatoes, garlic, herbs, etc. and is left to simmer for an ungodly amount of time. Once the liquid is imbued with the essence of all these fine ingredients, it’s ready. Strain, pour in bowl, slurp while piping hot.
As for why you care? Because Brodo, New York’s undisputed mecca of bone brothdom, sells this stuff for $12 a pop and tons of people are buying it.
Brodo, a takeaway window in East Village, serves nothing but variations of broth. Opened in the fall of 2014 by Chef Marco Canora, Brodo’s bone broth and fast! concept is nothing if not first world.
Every day outside of Brodo, freezing New Yorkers cram themselves into some semblance of a line during their lunch hour to acquire the coveted liquid that the Interwebs says will cure all of what ails you and make you skinny, to boot.
The biggest mystery is not how Brodo has made a name for itself selling coffee mugs full of chicken juice, but whether there is any validity to the claims mentioned at the top of this piece. Let’s dive in and see, shall we?
Yes and no. Nutritionists agree that there are benefits to stock, simply by virtue of its ingredients. While essentially no clinical research has been done on the subject, one proponent of the magical elixir claims it does have a variety of benefits.
In a December 2014 interview with Refinery29.com, Dr. Cate Shanahan explains that benefits of drinking bone broth include an improved immune system, stronger bones, shinier hair and a reduction in inflammation. It makes sense: the connective tissues that are broken down when you boil a carcass becomes part of the stock, and you consume it, and steal its power, in a way.
This all sounds like fantastic news, but remember, no clinical research or anything, so… You’re still just drinking stock. This is not going to solve all of your health problems. It’s a good supplement to an already healthy diet but, then again, if you’re eating healthily, chances are you’re already getting all of these nutrients.
Supposedly it’s great for chronic joint pain but as previously stated, zero clinical evidence to back up such a claim.
There is only anecdotal evidence and a whole lot of celebrity endorsements to support claims that bone broth is the next kale. In my opinion, it is not. But if taking selfies with a steaming mug of something trendy is, by all means, Yelp yourself some liquid gold.
I say, don’t waste your time tracking down bone broth unless you just really, really like the flavor of chicken stock. Your body is better off getting the protein, amino acids and fiber from the things that are inside of that broth than just the liquid alone, so get ahold of your mother and beg her to ship you some of her world-famous chicken noodle soup. You need to call her anyway.