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Cath the Canberra Cook

You've pretty much nailed it, from my point of view. If you do want to try roasting bones, this is mainly useful if the meat hasn't been cooked already. Say if you've bought bones specifically to make stock. Roasting your carrots and onions can add some nice caramelly notes.

To save freezer space, you can reduce your stock down a long way and freeze it in ice cube trays.


I agree that it's good to avoid eating meat. The energy that goes into animal production is far greater than that of plant production. Eating meat contributes to the energy crisis. ...But it's still tasty. :)

I wonder if butchers give bones away for free? Then I wouldn't have to have the "there's a frozen carcas in my freezer" feeling.


Unfortunately, butchers don't do that any more. The vast majority haven't cut up a carcasse in years; they get it "boxed", pre-cut, and only do very minor trimming.

Because of this, they don't have any butchering scraps to give away!

Only a few "custom butchers" actually get things like sides or quarters of beef and break it into retail cuts themselves. And they've found that they can actually sell the bones. Not for very much. but for something.

A good butcher is amazing efficient. I had one break a steer carcasse, about 900 lb after skinning and gutting, and I got about 5 lb of sausage scraps.

David Harmon

I've tried saving veggie scraps, but I don't produce enough of them (not enough cooking from scratch. If I have "tired" but whole veggies, I tend to simply turn them into vegetable soup.

TheNerd: "Eating meat contributes to the energy crisis."

Ironically so, since, long ago, eating meat was the ur-human solution to a much more fundamental energy crisis: finding enough calories to feed our increasingly oversized brains!


What a wonderful post!

It's so nice to hear you extolling the virtues of home-made stock! This is, perhaps, the one single thing that will make more difference in the quality of one's cooking than anything else-- and, as you noted, it's a way to use everything and not just as a matter of need but to an actually pleasurable, nutritious, and good end!

A little thing-- please forgive me if I didn't see it mentioned, as it is late, but when your stock is doing its thing, it's nice to periodically skim the scum off of it. This will help it to have a more clear appearance, plus it's kinda fun.

Also, I am surprised that you allow your own stock to boil. Usually, the conventional know-how has it that you want to start with the water cold, and slowly bring it up to temperature-- you actually want it pretty low, a shade below any sort of bubbling. This has the effect of drawing out flavor. Do you find that this is hogwash, or does it work for you?

YAY for stock!! Thanks, Greta!

Susie Bright

Olive oil. That's the first thing I put in the pot.

All the veggies you describe, plus some fennel bulb.

Wine, sometimes.

I was at a "cauldron" party one time where the head pot-witch explained to us how the best part of the chicken for stock was the feet, and I spent about an hour cleaning chicken feet for an enormous iron outdoor cauldron. It was the best stock I ever tasted.


Oh, the meat eater's guilt. Meat (among other things) is murder. There's no way to sugercoat or season the guilt away. No matter how good it tastes, it's still dead animal flesh/muscle. And our bodies should not be graveyards. At least you're honest about it, and trying to eat less meat and eat free range. That's a good start :o)

Please excuse my self-righteous tone. I don't eat chicken, beef or pork, but I still eat seafood on occasion, so I'm not perfect either.

Oh, and I really enjoy your blog!


I don't have much to add, except to repeat the importance of NOT adding salt. It's easy to add later, but impossible to take out, and if you want to boil down the soup for a richer sauce, salt will render the result inedible.

But I wanted to say yay for variety!

Not that your other subjects aren't fascinating, but it's nice to have some breadth.


Like you said stock is essential in gravy. So is the roux. There are 2 ways to thicken gravy. You can use cornstarch or roux. I prefer roux. Only 2 igredients go into a roux, flour and fat. Like the stock, roux can be made vegetarian or carnivorous. Of course, no one should be eating much animal fat. It's not good for anyone. So, I suggest a vegetable oil like soybean or corn. First heat an ammount of oil until it gets hot. Don't get it get so hot that it'll smoke. Then put about half the amount of flour into the pan. I like it to have the consistancy of "a little thinner than peanut butter." Add more flour until you get the consistancy you like. Now, heat the mixture slowly. All the while stir with a wooden spoon. Plastic spatulas tend to melt when cooking your roux. Cook it until you get the color you want. Depends on what you want to use your roux for. If you want to make white gravy then cook just until it starts to take on a brown color. If you like brown gravy, cook it until it's peanut butter color or darker. If you don't cook the roux long enough, you'll get a floury taste to the gravy. Take the roux off of the burner and let it cool. After it has cooled you can store it in a covered container. Roux also freezes well. To make the gravy out of your wonderful stock, start by heating a tablespoon or so of roux until it gets hot. Then slowly add your stock stirring the whole time. It works well if the stock is cool. Add a cup first and if the gravy gets too thick add more stock. Season as you like.


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