2 | 52 Bone Broth

Everyone warns you that life with a tiny human will be different. They talk in broad, teary-eyed phrases about how magical  it all is. Nobody warns you that it'll shake your self-indentity to the core. That your whole life will start to revolve around how everyone is sleeping and pooping. That you will spend the whole first year of life getting summer cold after stomach bug after conjunctivitis, because surprise, your kid is an adorable little cesspool. And so are all her friends. 

This year in our little corner of the world, it's more than that. The storms this spring and summer crashed in violently, rolling through with hard, fast, soaking rains. Not your normal summer showers, but thick, angry droplets that pelt themselves mercilessly in horizontal rivulets, thrashing against windows and seeping in through door jams. Lightning slashed through steely granite thunder clouds, perfect veins of white cracks shattering the sky into a million jagged pieces. 

This is not where this pergola typically lives. It was temporarily relocated by one of the summer storms, from my parents' patio to the corner of our yard with our compost bins. 

This is not where this pergola typically lives. It was temporarily relocated by one of the summer storms, from my parents' patio to the corner of our yard with our compost bins. 

Pair the threatening weather with the headlines lately, about anger and loss and violence and terror and a presidential campaign with candidates that both ought to go sit in the corner for a couple moments o think about what they've done. andidates who ought not be allowed to come back out to play until they're ready to play nicely.

The whole world just feels so ominous. And I look at Nora's eager, curious little face every day, her hungry little hands tugging at my pants, pointing at the world, asking me to explain everything to her. How do nurture that insatiable appetite for life when the truth is sometimes just so sad? People hurt other people, on accident, on purpose, for horrible reasons, for no reason at all. How do I explain to her that every life lost is someone else's baby, someone's brother and son and father? very life. 

I don't have answers for her. I don't have anything but love, and hope, and the ability to be a gentle, safe space. And I have bone broth, which is this week's recipe.

Clockwise from far left: Pork broth, beef broth, marrow bones browning for the beef broth. 

Clockwise from far left: Pork broth, beef broth, marrow bones browning for the beef broth. 

If ever you need to show someone that you love them, if ever you need to assure someone that it will somehow all be OK again one day but you just can't find the words... Make some bone broth. Turn it into soup, or a sauce, or just heat it gently and pour it into your favorite oversized mug and sprinkle it with a pinch of your favorite salt. That's how I've been enjoying it lately, in the small stolen hours when I've been trading sleep for precious alone-time.

Clockwise from top left: Smoked chicken bone broth, roast chicken bone broth, BBQ chicken bone broth. There was a neighborhood cookout with lots of chicken leftover. I grabbed as much as the host would give me and turned it into chicken salad and quesadilla fillings and chicken salad, then tossed the bones into stock pots and started them simmering.  

Clockwise from top left: Smoked chicken bone broth, roast chicken bone broth, BBQ chicken bone broth. There was a neighborhood cookout with lots of chicken leftover. I grabbed as much as the host would give me and turned it into chicken salad and quesadilla fillings and chicken salad, then tossed the bones into stock pots and started them simmering.  

Giving someone a cup of bone broth is the equivalent of offering the warmest hug. It revitalizes you in ways other foods just can't, stirring something warm and good awake in your soul, like whispers from the universe that everything is going to work out. It is a sigh and a nod and a, "Don't you worry." It's comfort in a cup, and it'll chase whatever chill you're carrying around right away.

Bone broth. It will cure whatever ails you.

I am partial to Nourished Kitchen's recipes and resources, which you can find here. I love that you can take leftovers that never had another purpose -- the bones, the connective tissues, the scraps in every sense of the word, and lo, mixed with a little water and a splash of wine you can find before you a veritable pot of gold. I love and cook from both of Jennifer McGruther's books (Nourished Kitchen, titled the same as her wonderful website, and Broth and Stock, the inspiration for the cauldrons of magic you see in this post). If you're only going to buy one broth / stock cookbook this year (and why would you limit yourself? Get them all, I say, but I'm also an addict) it has to be Broth and Stock. It's so good, guys. It's good like the happy moments you spend laughing with your family are good. It's good like Christmas morning, and the first day you wake up and it smells like autumn in the air. It's good like a cup of homemade bone broth is good.

It's the kind of good we all deserve more of in our lives. The kind of good we want to pass on to our kiddos.