The personal blog of Frank Lesko. Award-winning writer. Non-profit entrepreneur. Activist. Religious professional. Foodie. Musician. All around curious soul and Renaissance man.

See also my professional blog: The Traveling Ecumenist.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Stop! Before You Throw Out Thanksgiving Leftovers . . .

Trim your cooked turkey of most of its meat, and throw the bones and any other "disposable" parts of the turkey into a pot of water and boil for a few hours. This will make a delicious starting point for a soup broth. Even better if you still have the liver, gizzard, neck and any other parts like that. After it cooks, you can then remove the bones and start your soup. Scott says his grandmother encloses them in a net, so that the sharp little bones won't get out into the broth (I've done it before without a net and didn't have any problem, just had to do more fishing). The bones enhance the flavor and provide nutrients that are hard for us to get otherwise.

Cooking with bones was once a common part of our ancestors' diets. Bones were cooked for hours, even days at a time. I imagine a big cauldron in the center of a house or cave, with fires stoked each day before meals are ladeled out. Ingredients may be added, but the same bones would be stewing for days. Bone soup is almost unheard of anymore, but it disappeared only within the last couple of generations. The Weston Price folks would consider it a pillar of traditional, healthy diets--almost like a food group unto itself. It may be the best way for us to get numerous minerals, like calcium.

They say that the best bone broths come from animals that were raised on natural diets (cows eat grass, not grain!) and roamed free range. According to them, the bones of factory-raised animals are not as conducive to a soup base, since the extracts don't gelatinize very well.

"Sucking out the marrow" was once considered so fabulous that it has served to symbolize the most savory and rewarding of experiences. But when is the last time you had marrow?

My dad says that our long-time family friends the Glovas are more excited about Thanksgiving leftovers than about the traditional stuffed bird dinner itself. They use the bones and other leftovers to make soup. That got me thinking. I've made bone soups before, but it never occurred to me to recycle the bones of an already-cooked item. I have since collected all the bones from our meal today and will be cooking soup tomorrow!

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