The Uncomfortable Truth about Cooking

There is something about cooking none of us want to acknowledge. All we really do when we slice and dice, simmer or brown, even marinate is, essentially, speed up decay. Why do we do this?

Because decay tastes good.

Some theories for our fifth and arguably yummiest taste, umami, (which recently joined the established ranks of sweet, salt, sour and bitter) is that it is simply the taste of decay. Of course it can also be artificially produced – which is MSG.

For the last several weeks, we have been saving bones, rinds and vegetable trimmings, in order to harness their decay into an umami rich broth. They have been gathering in our freezer into a kind of compost pile, if you will, that instead of enriching our soil (we have none) will soon be enriching our meals.

There are lots of rules for making broth. You don’t really need any of them. Just throw it all in a pot and simmer.

Here’s the most recent concoction – everything but the celery and parsley was found in a greenmarket:

Unfussy Broth

One T-bone, meat previously devoured
Bones from a whole chicken
Turkey back bone
Cheese rinds
Celery tops
Onions, whole, including rough outer skins
Carrots, unpeeled, chopped into quarters
Nuded rosemary twigs
Garlic cloves
Parsley, stems and all

Cover in water and simmer anywhere from 2-18 hours, the longer the better. Chill to let fat coagulate at top. Skim and drain broth. Use, or freeze in user-friendly sizes. (I am using ice cube trays and muffin tins.)

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