Feed the Soul, Heal the Body

Feed the Soul, Heal the Body

By Chef Tommy Mattimoe
If you haven’t heard of bone broth by now, you probably aren’t spending enough time on social media. I didn’t know bone broth had hit the culinary zeitgeist until my mom was telling me about a new book extolling its virtues. Good stock is the backbone of a decent kitchen, and it’s a good thing to see its popularity expanding. The fact that bone broth is making a comeback is great sign to see people waking up to the value a truly healthy diet, not just a diet that looks good numerically on paper.

Kathy Colletti from intake asked me if we would consider making bone broth at Sabino Recovery; I told her that we have been making bone broth since day one. Every sauce and soup we serve uses 100% made in house chicken or veal demi-glace. Every resident that comes through the cafeteria gets a hearty dose of this liquid gold whether they know it or not (except the vegetarians). Chicken soup has a well-deserved reputation for curing all ails that transcends time and culture. So we use actual chicken stock as the base in most of our broth based soups because I can’t think of anyone that deserves good chicken soup more than our residents.

As a chef, having high quality stock for the base of a soup of sauce is the difference between making a mediocre liquid to help people chew overcooked meat and blowing someone’s mind with a sauce they will never forget. Good stock, whether chicken or beef, should have a certain mouthfeel to it. It’s not just thick; it’s sticky and almost chewy. I use the terms stock and bone broth interchangeably because they are the same thing. I’m glad there’s a new health trend that doesn’t come in pill form or is otherwise ridiculous. Good stock is an alchemy.

As the chef at a recovery center, how can I expect to help heal people—body and soul—if I’m feeding them something that amounts to poison? I think being a chef is much more than just creating tasty dishes for people to enjoy; if that were the case I would just serve cookies every meal. I feel a moral responsibility to serve healthy and nourishing meals that feed the soul as much as the body.