Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Skelatal Framework

I write about cooking A LOT, in an effort to understand the fundamentals of the process. I am currently tutoring students in phonemic literacy and, as a result have been tracing the English language back through time to the Indo-European tongue. Along the way, I've learned about prior languages which gave birth to our lovely "dialect" of today. (I say "our" in that, if you're reading this post, I'm assuming you're an English-speaker of some kind.) Just as language progresses through the ages, the development of a single dish is a kind of process. As any proponent of Soul-Food will tell you, one can taste the feelings in their food. A simple meal cooked with love will likely satisfy more than the rarest ingredients cooked with indifference. With many cooks (see Dan Barber), such feelings are not only directed towards the people they serve, they also lend themselves to a mindfulness about where food is acquired, the agricultural process and the method of creating a dish. Patrick O'Connell, proprietor of the Inn at Little Washington has mentioned the fact he conducts yoga class before shift in order to calm his charges so that they may be more centered in their cooking.

As I have delved deeper into the cooking process, becoming more mindful of what I eat and how to prepare it, I have found my framework of eating has shifted from trying new recipes with a variety of flavors to a handful of healthy, sustainable ingredients which I may cook in a variety of ways. In general, I have found a love of soups that can be made with a small number of ingredients based on the season. In winter I prepare creamy parsnip or carrot soup, in spring, lettuce, asparagus or spring pea soup. While these small number of ingredients share the bond of being green in color, they also share the need for broth in order to be transformed from delicious vegetable to delicious soup.To this end, I am picking up on the trend of bone broth.

Looking at the copious recipes for basic broths and stocks, most require the use of animal bones (beef, veal, chicken, etc.), aromatics (onions, carrots, celery, etc.) and water, boiled down for several hours in order to create a flavorful base for soups, stews, braises, etc. Bone broth, as far as I can tell, goes the extra mile in it's emphasis on health benefits in addition to flavor. While perusing Gwyneth Paltrow's site, Goop, I came across a link for Hemsley + Hemsley a blog run by two sisters and dedicated to healthy eating. On the site, a recipe for chicken bone broth was featured and it's myriad of benefits extolled. Aside from carrying less processed chemicals than your average "store-stock" the site claimed that the use of bone broth could also aid the appearance of one's skin (through collagen) and help one's joints (through the presence of gelatin in bones for the broth). Finally, as I had expected before, bones of animals such as chickens or fish can often be obtained for free from one's local butcher or fish monger. At that point, I knew I had to give this broth a try. In my search for a more methodical mode of cooking, I believe I have stumbled upon a healthy, essentail "product" which can be used in a myriad of ways. For the bone broth recipe, one may click, here.

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