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.