Roll the Bones, and Chew the Fat.

Modern ‘Americans’ are very strange and illogical creatures, I’ve noticed.

Something I noticed a long time ago, is that people don’t typically eat their fat. Nor do they usually use the bones from the animals, if they cook. Years ago folks used to save the bones, freeze them, and make soup stock.

Wild Cookery

By and large folks don’t do that anymore. So all those bones go straight into the trash heap. When I was growing up, used bones would go into the compost pile and make their way back into nature that way. These days everything goes directly into a plastic trash bag, into a plastic trash bin, and out to the curb to be buried and/or incinerated somewhere.

But that’s such a pitiful waste of resources.

Now, I’m all about making the most of using resources that would otherwise be wasted. Especially if it’s darn tasty.

Some of the best beef stew I’ve ever made was from leftover t-bone steak bones, so a few years ago I had an idea. My idea was to ask my friends and neighbors to save something that they’d typically throw away, the fat and bones.

I’m not talking about bones that are gnawed upon or any such thing, just bones that have had the meat mostly cut off of them, or fat that has been pre-cut off of a steak or what have you prior to eating it.

No cross contamination, no gross factor.

But people wouldn’t do it. Not even people that I’ve known most of my life and who know I live a foraging lifestyle. It puzzled me.

I even offered to pay them for it, to cover any inconvenience they may incur by having to throw a few scraps in a bag in the freezer. I told them that I’d give them a few bucks for every bag of bones and fat scraps they saved for me. That only made things worse, I think. Some people got almost violently confrontational when asked why it bothered them to be asked to save bones and scraps.

Not one could give a logical, rational answer.

I think that ‘modern’ people seem to think that such things are beneath them. I mean from the way they reacted you’d have thought that I asked them to bag up their daily poo and put in in the freezer for research.

But just asking folks to kindly save a few bones and scraps? People don’t know how to react to that. They freak out.

You’re asking them for something they are going to throw away anyway, and for some reason they’re too embarrassed to give it to you. Or maybe they’re embarrassed for you that you’d ask them to save ‘scraps’ to be utlized and then consumed. Who knows.

What a strange and wondrous world we live in.

Unbeknownst to these people, they’re consuming the worst part of the animal (the lean meat) and throwing away the best part. (The fat and the bones.)

In times past the bones were used to make bone broth for soups, and the fat was simmered in the soups until it broke down and imparted it’s greasy goodness into the whole pot of soup. And when some bones such as chicken bones, are cooked for several days, they become very soft, and can then be safely consumed.

Easter will be coming up soon. Every single one of my neighbors will be buying, and preparing, a ham for easter. Every single one of them will be throwing away that lovely ham bone. I could have a baker’s dozen hambones in my freezer from other people throwing them away. That would last me a year of ham soup if I made it once a month. But not a one of them will give it to me. I might actually use it to make soup or something and they’d apparently rather it rot in a landfill.

But what’s the answer to this dilemma? I don’t know. How do you change the American mindset? I don’t think you do. Not unless something very drastic were to happen to the food supply.

But barring that, hopefully people will one day soon feel an urge to get back to a less wasteful way of life, where if they don’t use those precious resources themselves, they aren’t all weirded out about giving them to a neighbor so that they may be made use of instead of shucked into the trash can. These things run in cycles, and our current way of life is simply unsustainable, and will eventually come back to true.

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Categories: Food Health, Foraging, Nature, Organic, Recipes, Wild | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Roll the Bones, and Chew the Fat.

  1. Thank goodness I live in Idaho and we still have stores that sell ox tail and smoked ham hocks for us that can’t support or butcher a big critter. I cook up a few special meals and I always tell everyone I want the bones or carcass of all critters I cook. They make such lovely stock with minimal work. They think I’m crazy anyway but I get those lovely bones for cooking. As far as fat if you never added a handful of “cracklins” to your cornbread you are missing out.

  2. Hmm. Maybe they feel bad you’d eat something they consider to be garbage? I save bones and fat too but I’ve never asked for anyone’s, we do have some willing scrap savers through my husband at work but those scraps are for the pigs. The only way to change is through example. If enough people do it it will become normal again. I tell my friends about making stock from bones and they seem to be warming up to the idea (but shh they’re not ready to hear about adding any chicken feet).

  3. I always kept and used the ham bone (and any trimmed fat). I also used all of the bird carcass for making broth for the freezer. Just seemed like the thing to do, given the sacrifice of the animal! I would want the same for me if ever I was eaten. Use everything. Then put me in the ground so the little guys can finish me off properly.

    Of course, we stopped eating meat, so it’s no longer a concern.

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