The latest trend to engross the health-conscious is bone broth, and it's showing up in health and organic stores and trendy restaurants in cities across the country. New York, Washington D.C. and Portland have been overtaken. Stories about the purported benefits litter the Internet. So much bone broth has been bubbling over, NPR stopped to ask how it became the elixir du jour.
Bone broth has arrived in Dallas, at the Green Grocer on Greenville Avenue. Next to the coffee dispensers visited each morning by slack-eyed commuters on the way to work, another thermos promises to deliver broth made from chicken bones, one pump at a time. Various herbs and seasoned salts are available for last-second adjustments. For $2.50 you get an 8-ounce paper cup of the stuff.
Steaming paper cup in hand, I was a magnet for bone-broth propaganda as I wandered the shop. Everyone was like: "That stuff is soo good for you," and " I really need to drink more bone broth." Many of those alleged benefits are spelled out on a sign next to the Green Grocer's broth station. Bone broth helps heal and seal your gut, reduces joint inflammation, promotes healthy bones, inhibits infection and fights inflammation. Put bone broth in your Google box and you can find many more purported benefits: it helps heal wounds and modulates the immune system.
But does it?
According to NPR, there isn't a single study published about the health properties of bone broth. And since there are so many recipes, we're a long way off from really knowing how helpful the stuff really is. So instead of pounding a cup of bone broth and bragging about how slippery our joints feel, maybe we should just focus on how delicious it is.
That's what we've been doing all along anyway. The Tonkatsu ramen we've turned into the Soup Christ is based on a pork bone broth. A few months ago I bathed in LA Han Bat's seolleongtang, a beef bone soup.
Most soups start with bones and water, but when bones are boiled in water long enough they start to break down. Extra collagen gives the liquid a viscous, satiny texture, and extra nutrients are stripped out of the bones. Will it help seal your gut? Who knows, but a cup of this stuff in the morning will warm your insides in a way that coffee could never. It also seems to be more filling that standard stocks or broths. I grabbed a cup on my way to lunch, and when I got to my final destination I wasn't all that hungry.
As a bonus, Green Grocer offers quarts of bone stock that you can take home. I'd image most home cooks could turn the liquid into an amazing soup. Or you could blast all hope for any health benefits from bone brothe and use it to make chicken and dumplings. Yeah, that's probably the best plan of all.