Paleo To The Bone

      37 Comments on Paleo To The Bone

Whenever my wife serves a meat dish, my daughters immediately grab the bones (if there are any) and start trying to dig out the marrow, which they seem to enjoy more than the meat itself.  Well, go figure.  Marrow is full of fat and other nutrients.  In hunter-gatherer societies, it was a prized food, as were the brains and other fatty organs. 

That’s one of the mistakes modern nutritionists made when they decided our Paleolithic ancestors lived on low-fat diets. Yes, it’s true, the wild animals back then didn’t have as much fat in their muscles as the animals we raise today.  But early humans didn’t just eat the muscles.  They ate nearly the entire animal — and they often ate the fattiest parts first. Here’s what Dr. Weston A. Price, the author of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration had to say on the topic:

I found the Indians putting great emphasis upon the eating of the organs of the animals, including the wall of parts of the digestive tract. Much of the muscle meat of the animals was fed to the dogs. It is important that skeletons are rarely found where large game animals have been slaughtered by the Indians of the North. The skeletal remains are found as piles of finely broken bone chips or splinters that have been cracked up to obtain as much as possible of the marrow and nutritive qualities of the bones. These Indians obtain their fat-soluble vitamins and also most of their minerals from the organs of the animals. An important part of the nutrition of the children consisted in various preparations of bone marrow, both as a substitute for milk and as a special dietary ration.

Now, my girls aren’t Indians (they’re frequently wild, but that’s another topic), but they do know the good stuff when they taste it.  After watching them desperately trying to poke every last bit of marrow out of small steak bones on several occasions, my wife decided to go ahead and pick up some large marrow bones, which she cooked up as part of a beef stew.  (Delicious, by the way).  Then she gave the marrow bones to the girls.  Below is the result.  Enjoy — they did.

p.s. – I know some of you who subscribe to the YouTube channel received multiple notices that a new video was uploaded and tried to leave comments.  Sorry … for some reason, YouTube kept taking my 16×9 video and squeezing it into 3×4, which made the girls look like stick figures.  I had to keep deleting and trying different output formats.

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37 thoughts on “Paleo To The Bone

  1. Alcinda Moore

    They are so cute! The oldest is a tad dramatic, no?

    When we were kids my brother and I would fight over the marrow in bones. Recently I remembered that and tried it….and it was pretty good!

    Sara definitely loves the dramatic. I plan to get her into our local theater group as soon as she shows any interest.

  2. redcatbicycliste

    You may not look to be in your fifties (as you’ve stated on your blog that you are often mistaken for being 40 or younger), but your mindset is that of someone born and raised during that time: Indians = wild? It is [almost] 2010, I thought that negative and prejudiced way of thinking about the indigenous people of this continent was dead and gone.

    Oh well, I guess it isn’t enough that the white European immigrants and their armies killed most of them, and took away their land and put them on reservations, and took away their children to be placed in boarding schools to be stripped of their culture (which includes how they ate; look at the crap they eat now, certainly not marrow bones of the bison they hunted for centuries; and the poor health imposed upon them) and language, and depict them as savages in their movies, but now, in the blogosphere (on a blog that I like and respect) they continue to be degraded in this new century.

    Good lord, lighten up. Since when is “wild” a negative word? If you live in tepees, hunt most of your food and are nomadic, that fits my definition, which I don’t consider pejorative. (I didn’t use the word “savage,” either. The savages were the government soldiers who attacked peaceful villages and killed everyone in sight.)

    I believe the Plains Indians had an admirable culture and got screwed by the U.S. government, as did pretty much every other tribe in the country. As a child, I wanted to be an Indian. My bedroom wall was full of posters of Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, etc. They were my heroes.

  3. Haggus

    I must have been around your daughters ages when I first had bone marrow. I loved it!

    I never thought to try it as a kid. Guess I missed out.

  4. Elenor

    Astonishing. Amazing. Being a hyper-finicky eater from infancy, I have never tried marrow — but watching your darling girls makes me think maybe I should! And maybe I will someday — but right now I’m focused on learning how to use my Christmas present from my husband — my brand new Sous Vide Supreme. Have you gotten one yet, Tom?

    It’s on our wish list. I actually tasted some of Mary Dan’s cooking with it in July. It wasn’t out yet, so I was sworn to secrecy.

  5. aurelia

    Those two are quite a pair!

    My mother says I teethed on pork chop bones. I still gnaw them naked.

    I remember gnawing a few of those myself. Good stuff.

  6. Sue in Spokane


    I don’t think that you should have to justify yourself for an innocent remark! Maybe redcatbicycliste is just having a bad night. Honestly, PC is ruining civilized conversation. One of the reasons I visit this blog is that it is one of the few light-hearted and entertaining blogs that can also deliver good insight on some of the newest nutritional information regarding the low-carb woe. Thank you for your work keeping this blog going.

    Thanks. I didn’t think it was insulting when I wrote it.

  7. Jesrad

    Aww I remember doing just the same thing with my steak bones, too, as a kid. And now I religiously list every restaurant in the vicinity that offers roasted marrow bones as entree dishes.

    I didn’t know there were any. Cool.

  8. mezzo

    All you bone-lovers out there: I just bought Jennifer McLagan’s book “Cooking on the bone”. Abso-bloomin’-lutely fantastic.

  9. Guy

    Heard from Dr. Eades Twitter that your url got cut off. Hope that heals up okay for you.

    It’s recovering nicely, thanks.

  10. JN

    Our whole family is marrow-addicted. My mom buys the Costco chicken wings, and I’ve caught her more than once picking the meat off and leaving it (for the dog) just so she could make away with the bones.

    I recommend you try roasted bone marrow with parsley salad. The dish comes from this restaurant in London that promotes nose-to-tail eating (their menu is crazy). The marrow is spread on toast but I suppose you could get around that. Or just make an exception–it’s really fantastic.

    AND and there’s a really good cookbook called Bones that focuses on…well, it’s pretty self-explanatory. I believe the author also wrote another cookbook called Fat. I wonder what that one’s about…

    There are way more marrow fans out there than I would’ve expected.

  11. low-carber

    I’m always looking for stew recipes-did your wife use a slow cooker? Did she have the bones in the stew for the whole cooking time? Your daughters are tooo cute! I used to always eat the marrow when my mom did lamb chops and I really liked it better than the actual lamb.

    The stew was prepared in clay pot in the oven, which is a kind of slow-cooking process. Chareva tells me the bones were in there for the whole 90 minutes.

  12. Karin

    Coming from a mom of three, I love that your wife tries to fix up your girls’ hair while they are busy devouring marrow.

    Yup, that’s a mom at work. They’d just had their baths, and she was afraid their hair would swing into their food as they examined the bones — a fear based, of course, on experience.

  13. Brooke

    Get your girls some demitasse spoons – that’s what we use … before we get the last bit with our fingers/tongues. Even a butter knife works better than a fork which I think your younger daughter was trying to approximate with the handle-end of her fork! Also, it’s really easy to roast a pan of bones in the oven – we often have them for breakfast. Sure beats cereal!

    They might’ve had spoons and ignored them. They tend to get creative with their utensils, no matter what we put in front of them. Marrow for breakfast … now you’re talking.

  14. Richard

    I tried my first Bison marrow at the age of 35 a few weeks back. Wish my folks had known what we know, when I was your kid’s age. I’d be a healthier man for it today.

    There’s a nice Aboriginal cuisine restaurant here where I live, and they prepare it quite nicely (Ottawa, On, Can.)

    I’ll have to try that restaurant if I’m ever in Ottawa.

  15. Ms. X

    Lol@redcatbicycliste, that one sided bashing is ignorant. The latest arrivals (“white European immigrants”) were a bad lot, but no worse than any other human lot. Just more technologically advanced.

    The back rooms of the Smithsonian are full of intriguing artifacts from the earlier arrivals (which he incorrectly labels “indigenous people”) such as finger-bone necklaces and scalp shirts (, relics of that segment of humanity acting like, well, humans.

  16. Matt Stone

    Marrow has always been a delicacy, along with organ meats. It’s funny how social mores and religion-induced delusion have managed to make animal skin, organ meats, and bone marrow “disgusting.” It’s hard to get any adult to eat such things. My mom wouldn’t touch marrow with a 10-foot pole. The only person in my family I was ever able to coerce into eating such things was my 5-year-old niece… not old enough to “know better,” I guess.

    Anyway Tom, that video is incredible. I could watch it over and over again. Particularly at 1:38 when the littlest does the bone marrow ‘bottoms up.’ So sweet.

    I had to overcome that conditioning the first time I ate liver as an adult. Strange, when you think about it: eating a muscle is okay, but eating an organ isn’t. No logic there.

  17. Amy Dungan

    Your daughters are adorable Tom! Loved watching them have a go at those bones. I’ve never tried marrow… looks like I’m missing out! I’ll have to look up some recipes and give it a shot.

    I guess there are marrow cookbooks out there, too. We’ve all been missing out.

  18. Dave, RN

    Those girls are SAVAGES! They reminded me of two wolf puppies devouring the last of their Dads fresh kill.
    I never thought of eating marrow, but I’m going to try it. I can get bones from the place I get my meat (Burgundy Pastures in Grandview Tx). They actually sell them as “pet Bones-Bagged”. Come to think of it, they sell pet food too, but get the ingredients:

    Raw beef and organ meat trim – including liver, heart, kidney and tongue. All things most like a dog or cats natural diet. A good compliment to your regular feeding program”.

    Ha! Sounds like a good compliment to MY feeding program! Comes from the grassfed beef and cheap too!

    Sounds like the local dogs are eating healthier than most people.

  19. Guy

    I hear all the salons are serving marrow bones to entertain the kids while having their hair done.

    Love that idea.

  20. Kathy

    My sister and I had to fight my dad to get the marrow! And my baby brother would sit in his high chair and yell, “Bones! I need bones!!”

    I’m starting to feel like one of the few kids in the world who didn’t eat marrow.

  21. Matt

    I think you slipped them some sugar before you started shooting, they seem very excited.

    I’m not that cruel of a director.

  22. Josh Goguen

    Something occurred to me the other day with the Indians. It’s always talked about how they used almost every part of the buffalo and I’ve heard it reasoned that they did that out of respect for the animal. Upon thinking about it, if I put forth the effort to bring down a buffalo with spears and arrows, I’d probably use the whole damn thing too. More out of respect for the effort than the animal.

    Well, they did hold the buffalo in near-holy status, but yes, that’s called making good use of limited resources. I use every part of my house for the same reason. (The resource part, not the holy part.)

  23. Todd

    Anthony Bourdain and his cooking/travel shows got me more interested in the traditions of eating organ meat around the world. I had tried some in Japan, where some organ meats are popular, but was quite surprised at how little I knew about how much more there is out there.

    I have replaced hot cereals, granola, toast, and most other breakfast foods with a local cut of meat called “sanmai niku”, or three-layered meat. It’s pork belly, with a layer of skin, fat, and muscle. Now I can work through to lunch without snacking or wanting to snack, instead of constantly being reminded how hungry I am.

    Nice. It looks like hyper-bacon.

  24. mezzo

    JN: That is the cookery-book I mentioned earlier. The other one is indeed called “Fat” and it’s by the same author: Jennifer McLagan. Highly recommendable.

  25. Felix

    Thanks for the hint, I just made some beef stew with tons of bone marrow. It tastes great. Well, there’s no way it cannot – there must be about a centimeter of fat swimming on top.

    Yup, the bones really added to the stew flavor.

  26. Anna

    I hope Santa Claus brings those girls some marrow spoons!

    Gotta love the Victorian eating and serving utensils, LOL. Very specialized but very handy. Clearing the kitchen of voluminous cereal and flour containers makes space for such treasures, too.

    I second the recommendations for Jennifer McLagen’s Bones book and Fergus Henderson’s Nose to Tail Eating (published as The Whole Beast in the USA). I first tried Henderson’s Roasted Marrow with Parsley salad at his St. John restaurant in London and was won over by marrow margin! I make that recipe at home now with bison marrow from the half bison I buy yearly from a pasture-based ranch in Montana (they deliver a co-op buy to my So Cal area) to stock my freezer. I always have to make an explicit note in the butcher order to *keep all the bones* because they aren’t automatically included (guess the butcher figures no one wants them).

    We buy grass-fed meats from a local farm. I didn’t think to ask them for bones, but I guess we should.

  27. Karen

    Your girls are a riot! I totally enjoyed the video, pictures say so much more than words. Thanks

    They are a constant source of entertainment.

  28. Holly

    Adorable! They make me feel like I’m missing out on something… I’ll have to try it if it is that good! 🙂

    Guess I should get them started writing their own cookbooks. They seem to be starting a trend.

  29. Christina Stone

    I used to date a Bengali and they would cook the chicken bones a really long time and eat the well cooked ends off the bones. I started doing that it it was pretty good, then you suck what insides out that you can. My girls go crazy for bone broth, which we try to make at least once a week. They have never had ear infections by the way, and are rarely sick.

    Maybe that’s where the “chicken soup” cure got started — the marrow that makes its way into homemade soup.

  30. Dave, RN

    Well.. I did it. I went to my local grassfed butcher and picked up 6 marrow bones while I was getting some of their soap that they make from from coconut oil and beef tallow (I wonder if I could use that like butter to cook eggs in)?
    Anyway I stuck it in the over for 25 minutes at 400. I scooped it out and put a little Himalayan salt on it. Mostly fat, and mostly good. I ate three and added the other three to a soup that I made from beef and vegitables using low sodium V8 as a stock. It added a nice touch.
    I’ll be doing it again, but it wasn’t as cheap as I thought. 6 bones 1-1.5 inches tall and about 1-2″ around were $2.88. I can get more than a half pound of their beef for that.
    I’ll let you know when I try their dogfood! It is cheaper than the meat!

  31. Jacks

    “Wanting to be an Indian” when you were little (as many white kids do from stereotyped “noble savage” fantasy) doesn’t justify totally dismissing redcatbicycliste’s quite frankly legitimate concern.

    And yes, the way you wrote it DID imply “wild” as a negative, so don’t whine about it when somebody points that out.

    I didn’t imply anything. You inferred it. You oh-so-sensitive and enlightened P.C. types really need to get over yourselves.

    My girls are frequently wild … yes, I’m in the habit of insulting my own children. We had a wild time, heading into the wild for the weekend, going to pick some wild flowers. Disgustingly bigoted, all of it.

    But gee whiz, I sincerely apologize for all the damage I’ve caused the Native Americans through my thoughtless, unconscious racism. Just this morning, I heard that a Sioux was denied a job by someone who read my post and was therefore afraid of being scalped in the office. I will never, ever again imply that people who live a nomadic life and hunt their dinners are wild. Shame, shame, shame on me. Is there a consciousness-raising class somewhere I can take, please?

    If it makes you feel morally superior to believe you see racism behind every tree, then please, go ahead. Knock yourself out.

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