It’s been described as “The world’s first comfort food,” the secret ingredient in Grandma’s chicken soup, and the it-food of 2015. Bone broth may have been around since the 18th century, but it has recently staged a comeback as the beverage dujour due to several health benefits with which it has been linked.
Bone broth first appeared on my radar in early 2015 when I met up with a friend for lunch at Bone Daddies, a ramen bar in London’s SoHo that features the broth as their primary ingredient. The ramen was undeniably tasty, but I couldn’t say that it was worth the two-hour queue that had amassed over the course of our meal.
Unbeknownst to me, bone broth had become the hot new food trend of the health-conscious community. The so-called ‘superfood’ quickly made its way across the pond where New Yorkers can now grab a steaming cup from Brodo in the East Village or get it delivered in bulk from any of the subscription-based companies that have been popping up.
These options may be more costly than making your own batch, but the messy logistics of doing it at home make pre-made choices much more appealing. It requires pre-roasted animal bones to boil in a pot of water for a minimum of twelve hours (which differentiates it from stock which typically involves less time at a higher temperature) to break down the nutrients from the bones and allow them to be absorbed into the broth.
In attempts to cut back on my caffeine, I began to substitute my afternoon latte with a mug full of broth. I felt less jittery but I was still skeptical about what real benefits I could really be getting from a drink that mostly tasted like watery soup.
Marco Canora, the chef behind Brodo, believes that one of the main reasons people are swarming to his shop is the promise of better hair and nails thanks to the naturally high levels of collagen and gelatin in his broth. Unsurprisingly, “We get a lot of people who are already onboard with gut wellness, a lot of SoulCycle types and a lot of beautiful women,” he told the New York Post.
Beyond vanity it has a number of internal healing benefits, which has made it popular with athletes. Even LA Lakers player, Kobe Bryant, has voiced his approval. "I've been doing the bone broth for a while now," he told ESPN. "It's great - energy, inflammation. It's great."