Bone marrow is a very wonderful yet unappreciated food here in America. Mostly, Americans will say, "You eat what?" Less for them is not necessarily a bad thing - it means more for me, and at prices that are pretty economical. Bone marrow is popular in Filipino, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Indian, and French cultures. I work with folks from these cultures and they like to talk about their pre-America days when this food was a staple in their home. Julia Child was a big advocate of marrow bones. This is from a 1998 article in the New York Times: "Begging for Bones: A New Craving for Marrow."
Julia Child, who applauds a return to foods in the classic French tradition, like bone marrow, said that the French also opted for simplicity. ''We just cracked the bones, dug out the marrow and poached it,'' she said. ''But it wasn't something we'd do on a 90-degree day.''
In fact, the French love marrow so much that an excellent little restaurant in Paris is named L'Os a Moelle -- the Marrow Bone. Just try a name like that in New York. You might as well call your restaurant Tripe.
Also, here is an article from the Weston A. Price Foundation's Sally Fallon on bone marrow - its history, nutritional value, and culinary traditions.
If you don't have access to a stock of grass-fed bones, local butchers can usually supply you with all you want at prices between $1.50 - $2.50/lb. When I don't have any grass-fed soup bones left, I'm known at a couple of local places as the "lady who eats the bone marrow." I frequent a meat packer in Detroit's Eastern Market where I walk back to the large freezer and they bring out various leg bones. I choose my size and explain where I want the cuts. I have the knotty ends cut off for my dog, then I have the butcher cut the rest of the bone in even distributions of approximately 2-3 inches.
To get the bone marrow out of the bone, I find that a baby spoon is optimal. My mother had given me my baby spoon as a keepsake, and I found that the long handle and tiny spoon came in handy when I looked for the ideal tool for scooping out the marrow without breaking it up and losing the juices. A butter handling utensil will also work.
Here are some additional online resources to educate you on eating bone marrow.
- An article by Stanley Fishman, an author of grass-fed cookbooks.
- Gear Patrol has some amazing photos and recipes for bone marrow.
- Some links to studies and articles about bone marrow.
- At the bottom of this post is a short video from the Healthy Home Economist.