Bone Broth: History, Benefits, and Recipe

If you can believe it, bone broth used to be the daily grab and go meal.  So what happened?  Why did we stop making bone broth and what do we use now to replace it?  In the early 1900s, a Japanese researcher discovered the chemical, monosodium glutamate, or MSG from the seaweed kombu (Morell & Daniel, 2014).  Bouillon cubes made with MSG were then created to make broth both inexpensive and quick.  MSG was also made to enhance the flavors of bland food, like the MREs (Meals Ready-to-Eat) used for soldiers during WWII.  Sadly, today’s bouillon cubes contain zero dried bone stock and instead contain a long list of items that include phrases like “mechanically separated, hydrolyzed, and hydrogenated.”

Morell & Daniel (2014) states:

     The use of MSG in our food has allowed the eclipse of nourishing broth, something      that tradition tells us is good for us, something that science indicates should be in our   diet on a daily basis.  Before processed foods, cooks used broth to make soups,      stews, sauces, and gravies; broth made these foods taste good, and everyone enjoyed the health benefits whether they were aware of them or not.  MSG and its many cousins used in processed food have allowed cooks to forget valuable broth-making skills.  One can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup makes a casserole—skill in making cream sauce with chicken broth not required; a bouillon cube or two flavors the stew, so the stew gets eaten without the benefits of cartilage- rich broth. Gravy is produced by adding water to a packet of powder—which contains an overwhelming amount of MSG.  Packets of flavoring put MSG into homemade meat loaf, chili, and spaghetti sauce.  With instant  broth taste in packets and cans, who needs to pull out the big broth pot and fill it with bones? (Preface xii).

There is a reason why you were given chicken soup when you were sick as a kid, because real chicken bone broth contains healing cartilage, collagen, and amino acids.

In the past, nourishing broth was made a number of different ways from adding hot stones and water to a pouch of meat, fat, bones, wild grains and herbs to shells of turtles and clay pots (Morell & Daniel, 2014).  In the modern era, people always “kept a cauldron simmering over the fire or a stockpot on a stove’s back burner.  People regularly ate from it and continually added whatever ingredients became available, making long-cooked soups and stews the original ‘fast food’” (Morell & Daniel, 2014, p. 3).

Morell, S.F. & Daniel, K.T. (2014). Nourishing broth: An old-fashioned remedy for the modern world. Hachette Book Group: New York, NY

Chicken Bone Broth Recipe found at i s one of the best that I have found.  We keep the necks on our whole chickens for the very purpose of using the leftover backs for bone broth.


Melissa George