A Word On Food: Bone Marrow

I would guess that the first time I had any kind of bone marrow was when our mother would cook a pot roast and there would be that small, odd bit of fat within the well of a short bone that a brave adult would gobble up with a look of delirious self-satisfaction that stupefied my sisters and me. It was a slow path to me purposefully ordering bone marrow in a restaurant. 

The great writer on food …. not to mention art, sex, travel and life Ms. M.F.K. Fisher put it so well when she wrote, “One way to horrify at least eight out of ten Anglo-Saxons is to suggest their eating anything … but the actual red fibrous meat of a beast”. So … not this of which I speak. 

In her cookbook titled ‘Odd Bits, How to Cook the Rest of the Animal’ Jennifer McLaglan wrote, “Veal and beef marrow are the most popular, as bovine legs contain the most marrow. The bones can be cut to any length you want; ask your butcher for pieces cut from the center of the leg bone where the ratio of marrow to bone is the highest”. 

My wife, Janet and I have had bone marrow most often in classic French bistros and some American gastropubs…. Classically and minimally with grilled bread and very often, a parsley salad on the side. But … one presentation surely stands at the summit of all bone marrow courses I have had. On the 7th of September in 1999 we were on a journey that was the most epic food journey of our entire lives thus far. It was the birthday celebration week for my great friend/brother Chef Charlie Trotter. 


Now it’s time to hit the ‘Listen on WLRN’ button at the top to hear the remainder of my show. ‘A Word On Food’ airs on WLRN every Saturday around 8:30 a.m. at 91.3 and also 91.5 on the radio. I want to thank so many of you who tell me in person how much you are enjoying the show! Please check out my Instagram photos and my new IG TV cooking videos @normanvanaken 

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