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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Homemade Broth: RIP

Home cooks learn pretty quickly that homemade broth is a treasure, making as much of a difference in a finished dish as, say, decent parmesan cheese as opposed to the vile stuff in the shaker box. We eat so little meat around here that I ration broth as a precious nectar.

So I just have to get this off my chest. When we were in California, we made enchiladas, using a convenient rotisserie chicken. From the carcass, we made a yummy broth, for which we did not have an immediate purpose. As our time there wound down, I looked with anxiety at the broth. I made tortilla soup for lunch with about 1/3 of it. The rest languished.

I asked my sister-in-law if I should freeze the rest. No, she said, we'll give it to Pixie.

Pixie is the DOG. Somehow, I just don't think Pixie fully appreciates homemade broth.

This event recapitulates another. In my role as advice-giver and nag, I was explaining to a colleague who is always lamenting her money problems, hatred of cooking, over-reliance on fast food, and lack of time, how to solve all at once. She had a slow cooker, so I told her to buy a pot roast. I explained that the pot roast, plus one onion, and a little water, would yield several meals for her and her children. Day 1: success! For Days 2 and 3, I explained, she would eat left-overs the first day, followed by a beef and whatever (pasta, barley, vegetable) soup made with the abundant broth the slow cooker yields.

Oh, she said, we have no left overs.


The second day, I fed the pot roast to all the little boys who came over after school.

OKAAAYYYYYYYYYY. But what about the broth?

Oh, she said, we gave it to the dog. He looked so hungry while we were eating the pot roast.

Thank you for letting me get these upsetting events off my chest. Now I can move on.

And Dog People, am I a bad person to deny dogs homemade broth?


Connie said...

Good advice, but some people just don't get it. Just found your blog and am enjoying it.

Duchesse said...

Early on I learned to draw a skull and crossbones on a post-it note and stick on the roast, chicken pieces or anything else that is reserved for an upcoming meal. My sons and their fridge-marauding friends know not to touch this.

Giving stock to the dog is OK, I guess, if you have TONS of it, and want to moisten kibble with just a quarter cup. But "getting rid of it" is like using good wine to water your grass.

Some people just do not have the mind set of a cook. Good cooks are by nature thinking of how to use ingredients wisely.

Someone said...

Was it on your blog that I first saw the phrase "continuous kitchen?"

This traditional, economical, and conservationist concept has been purposely bred out of us by mass-culture food industry marketers. It makes sooo much sense, but you have to plan and have the right equipment/storage etc, of which current generations have little understanding. Glad that some are reviving it where they can.

Funny about Money said...

Wait. This woman fed broth made from meat and onions to her dog?

Hope she enjoys forking over money to her vet.

How many times does this have to be said? Onions are toxic to dogs!!!!! Lest you think I'm just scribbling to hear my keyboard rattle, let me add that I damn near killed a German shepherd and a greyhound by feeding them meat stewed in a crockpot with onion. In dogs, onion causes a type of anemia that can make the animal very sick and can in fact kill it.

Please tell your friend to quit feeding stock made with onions or garlic to her animals. It's easy to google authoritative sites online to support your tip to her.

If you want to feed stock to the dog, just put the bones in a crock pot with just plain water. Dogs love it, especially if they're feeling sick (just like people) -- and yes, it is good for them.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Connie--Thanks! Hope you come back soon.

@Duchesse==Love the scary post its! We were returning home and leaving the stock behind. I wanted it to have a good home--NOT in a dog bowl.

@Someone--Yes, I wrote bout it a while ago. But the phrase is from a cookbook writer; I did not come up with it (I wish!).

@Funny--This was quite some time ago and the dog is OK. I doubt this person has cooked since then.

Suzy said...

wow my mom cooks roast in the pressure cooker when they come down to visit and always gives my dogs the broth..I fish the onion out but didn't realize there would be enough to be far it hasn't hurt them but I guess they're gonna be out of luck from now on with the leftovers. She'll have to get them some from the original batch. I like to use the leftovers though either for soup or just to reheat. Last visit I had 3 meals left from that batch and that's after giving the 'girls' some of the broth and fat.

LOL she probably hasn't cooked since then! :-)