Tested all over the world, in soup, fried, raw, on toast, of course, and even in ice cream, the marrow has contributed, according to scientists, to the development of Man. It is also very rich in minerals. To be enjoyed, therefore, following Alix’s recipe that prepares it Aveyronnaise style.
“Happiness is in the bone. Chew the carcass! Wash the marrow! Cut the wings! Pierce the ham! Feast on the fool’s leash! Scrape the rib! Skeletons are the backbone of taste when they mutter in the corner of the stove, of tranquility from inns to the gold of starred restaurants.” It was Jacky Durand, a few years ago, a culinary journalist for Liberation, shouting out his love for substantial cooking. Fat, it’s life.
Bone story, yesterday again, market morning, Place du Bourg in Rodez, with Florence & Dominique Costes, from Ferme des Homs in Saint-Christophe-Vallon. Limousines and their calves, country lambs – gems of tenderness created in the rougier, just steps from Marcillac. At the end of the order, surprise: offered by the house, behind the counter, some marrow bones, to cook the same night to accompany the freshness of a Roussellou just delivered by Domaine du Verdus.
From Paris to the Far East
In fact, raised on the hock, sometimes the tibia, usually of ox or veal, the bone retains today, again, this sweet exchanged under the coat, to satisfy the great tables of the world as in the recesses of the croon. Roasted or grilled bone marrow, with fleur de sel on a slice of bread, in broth or in pot-au-feu; with herbs, chopped shallots, porcini mushrooms or wine; in bacon soup, wrapped in cabbage, topped with almonds; in Vietnamese pho, osso buco or Milanese risotto; Alsatian style, in quenelles, between thistles and celery; in the United States, breaded and fried in rapeseed oil; in still other places, among the Nunamiuts on the Alaskan frontiers, old masters of caribou preparation; to the Koriaks of Kamchatka, in the Russian Far East, reindeer herders and good butchers, who delight in it raw; to the terraces of Paris at the beginning of summer, which from here we can hear the rustling of passion for Glazed’s latest creation: bone marrow ice cream – which, from the rue des Martyrs to the Jardins des Plantes, enchants with “its fat side, its salt and its pepper seasoning”, two centuries after the capital had already fallen in love with the “Parisian bone broths” responsible for the name given to the first restaurants in Les Halles.
But while Paris, like other Westerners, sometimes has eyes only for substitute flavors and light diets, including the “paleo” trend – based on fruits, vegetables, nuts and lean meats, a distant archaeological reality – the capital knows it’s precisely thanks to this same marrow, then retained by its fat, which Man, for millennia during, not only fed but also knew how to develop.
When Bone Marrow Makes Humans Smarter
“Could the evolution of the human hand have been influenced by our ancestors’ taste for bone marrow? », we read just now in the very serious columns of an article from the Universities of Kent and Chatham. “Compared to primate hands, human hands have longer and stronger thumbs. Your other fingers are also shorter and your wrist more flexible, while the articular surface is larger. Although our grip is weaker, our dexterity is excellent. A hypothesis for this: this evolution could have been facilitated by the consumption of marrow, which our ancestors liked”, both for requiring ingenuity to remove the bone find, and for the health benefits of the latter consumed. A virtuous circle.
A study corroborated by other parallel work, this time from Yale University, assuming that the consumption of bone marrow from animals already slaughtered by other predators “would have triggered mechanisms that should lead to the development of our brain as we know it”. A source of calories in an often deficient food landscape, “the fat reservoirs contained in the long bones of abandoned carcasses, which only a few animals were capable of crushing” would likely have allowed future Homo sapiens to “set the stage opportunistically for the increase in brain size.
And the authors add: “The bones have the power to seal the bone marrow like a Tupperware container, thus preventing bacterial growth”, the only way, therefore, to break these survival vaults, being, in addition to passing through the jaws of the hyenas, “letting a smart monkey arm itself with a pebble”.
Triple gain, finally, for the “intelligent monkey” that we were: in psychomotricity on the one hand, in brain development on the other, and finally out of pure greed, placing the first milestones in the long company of our palates with this very special hazelnut flavor. , somewhere between the scallops and the prime rib. A cultural dish since then, with its codes and hierarchies, as among the Inuit where the medulla of the phalanges and metapodials, rich in oleic acid, is reserved for special occasions.
The virtues of the marrow
What if we know today that marrow cells act “like biochemical factories that the body can absorb, dismantle and then recycle”, releasing collagen, minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, boron and manganese, amino acids, including glycine and proline, vitamins A and K2, omega 3 and 6, the dish, in particular the broth, is now prescribed against joint pain, heart disease and osteoporosis, brittle nails, irritable bowel, gluten intolerance, the consequences of the disease Crohn’s disease or any other inflammation of the digestive system, even promoting muscle changes or strengthening the cornea. A panacea, from our ancestors to the present day, this must-have has passed almost quietly into our kitchens for dinner.
Soak them in cold water for twelve to twenty-four hours to drain them, until they are cooked for about thirty minutes in boiling water, without boiling so that the marrow does not come out of the bone. On the way out: a touch of knife, a slice of bread from the cathedral bakery – divine – by Laurie & Marin Abeleau, a hemp oil from Petit Courviala, an Aveyron distillery in Saint-Jean-Delnous, infused with sage, and a pinch of cabécou du Fel reduced to powder like local salt. Then.
Alex and Antonin
With Indian and Catalan roots, native to Aveyron by adoption, Alix Pons Bellegarde is lead researcher. With anthropologist Antonin Pons Braley and his sons, they travel the world to archive the food cultures of island and northern regions. Recently back in Aveyron, the couple founded their brand “Famille Pons Bellegarde” in 2021 and is preparing to open from next August in Bezonnes, near Rodez, its gastronomic table, its gourmet bookstore and its seasonal grocery store. ; in addition to launching its Journal 42, a bimonthly journal dedicated to the alimentarium with a culinary radius of forty-two kilometers around Rodez. The duo delivers a weekly journal of Aveyron’s cooking and explorations to Center Presse readers.