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NPR Arts & Life

The Elixir Du Jour: Bone Broth

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

OK, so you know how your great-grandmother always cooked leftover chicken bones in water and called it, you know, stock? Turns out she was way ahead of her time. WEEKEND EDITION food commentator Bonny Wolf explains.

BONNY WOLF, BYLINE: Stock is now called bone broth. And it's the hottest thing since Sriracha. New York's

Brodo, credited with getting the bowl rolling, opened in November with the slogan "The world's first comfort food" because humans have been eating broth since man discovered fire, which is probably one of the reasons it's so trendy today. The paleo diet, eating like cave men, has gone viral. And our hunter-gatherer ancestors would not have wasted animal bones they could make into a nice broth.

Bone broth is the magic elixir de jour. Animal bones are full of marrow, collagen and minerals that we are told will make our skin taught and the sick well. Think chicken soup. Kobe Bryant has bone broth before every game. And Gwyneth Paltrow has it on her winter detox menu. There is even a line of bone broth for cats.

So what is exactly is the difference between bone broth and stock? It's a much-debated point. But basically, stock is for cooking and broth is for drinking. Meaty bones, often roasted, are covered with water and simmered for a day or two. Herbs, spices and vegetables optional. Demand is boiling over. So many New Yorkers lineup at Brodos for to-go cups of gingered, grass-fed beef broth and Amish organic chicken broth that the restaurant had to buy a second stove. Halsa in Washington, D.C., makes a 100-quart pot of bone broth every night and still can't keep up. Cities across the country have broth delivery services, and it can be ordered online.

Many sipping broths can be personalized with seasonings such as turmeric, orange and fennel pollen in packets seeped like a tea bag. In fact, bone broth is promoted as a good substitute for afternoon tea - warm, soothing, no caffeine. Nathan Anda at Red Apron in D.C. was on trend without knowing it. He always made bone broth at his whole animal butchery, roasting meaty bones to caramelize them before simmering in water for a couple days. Now he adds a little salt and sells as sipping broth. If the fad ends, he says he won't have to change a thing.

MARTIN: Bonny Wolf is managing editor of americanfoodroots.com. B.J. Lederman wrote our theme music, possibly while sipping bone broth. Who knows? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.