At some point in your life, you will start to be pitched on new foods that “you just have to try.” This nightmarish period of your existence usually happens between college and children. Not only is the new food usually just lame-ass Girl Talk cuisine (ramen burgers, Thanksgiving burritos), but it’s inevitably foisted on you by your friends who secretly take pride in being fourth-wave gentrifiers.
Sometimes though, the trendy food is subtler. This makes it much worse, because it’s couched in faux-scientific language that would make even L. Ron Hubbard blush. Think “juicing.” We all know it’s some L.A. bullshit, trumpeted by the type of people who need to cloak their eating disorders in the poisonous language of “wellness,” right?
The days of juicing are over. We have a new sheriff in Trendy Food town, and its name is bone broth—a soup of slow-simmered animal bones rebranded as a fortifying health beverage. Paleo-Diet advocates have flocked to it, and the concept has quickly gained steam in the media as the “it” food of 2015. If you need more convincing, check out the bone-broth tracker.
This stuff is utterly simple. It’s caveman food. We invented it just after we committed genocide against the Neanderthals.
You’re probably wondering why I’m calling it bone broth instead of just broth. Isn’t broth just made from bones always, and the only reason to specific is if you’re making vegetable broth? Yes, it is. So why the redundancy? Because market research shows that it’s easier to get credulous New Yorkers to pay $9 for a 15¢ cup of SOUP WITH NO NOODLES OR VEGGIES OR MEAT when you gussy up the name with a second word.
Nomenclature is one of many reasons that bone broth is a flaming pile of dicks. There are a lot more.
First and foremost, the price. Yeah, that’s particularly offensive. This stuff is utterly simple. It’s caveman food. We invented it just after we committed genocide against the Neanderthals. In 2015, it’s cast as a new-age, transformative cure-all—as though cultures around the world haven’t already been gulping broth to survive for millennia. You can make a GALLON of this stuff for less than $5. So why are people lining up for $9 cups of the stuff?
Let’s keep moving. Anytime the salient feature of a food is something other than its taste, you know it’s a joke. And, true to form, broth is being touted as a “miracle drink” by “wellness experts” and people who use the term superfood like it means fucking anything. It’s not being pitched as “delicious,” or “good,” or even “vaguely tasty.”
Refinery 29 calls it a “playful but mysterious little dish.” Just kidding. They actually said it tasted like broth, because that’s what is: “If you brew with just bones and salt, it will have a bland, slightly meaty flavor. It’s no root beer float—but just think of all those nutrients!”
Yes, just think of those nutrients! Why would you care about something as fleeting as the taste when you’re literally changing your life with each sip? Every selling point of the damn thing is related to hair and skin benefits (shiny hair, wrinkle free skin), and maybe some joint pain relief. Except the restorative benefits are probably bullshit, because it’s based on anecdotal evidence:
“In the past 50 years, almost no clinical research has been done on bone broth.”
NPR looked into the science of stock and the results were as underwhelming as its taste. Not only are claims of collagen growth “wishful thinking,” but the vitamins and enzymes in stock that are theoretically beneficial “get denatured from heat as the broth cooks, rendering them less useful to the body.” In other words, this has slightly less credibility than the “enhancement” ads you see on the side rail of PornHub.
Let’s recap, shall we? It’s wildly overpriced, tastes like nothing in particular (remember that “slightly meaty favor”), and the jury is out on whether it does anything at all.
Another “bone broth” booster is a doctor in the employ of the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant drinks broth, and he’s out for the season. QED. The Lakers are terrible, and it seems to be broth’s fault.
But what about normal people and bone broth? From New York’s most reputable paper, The Post:
Actress and model Lauren Bonner, 23, was inspired to try bone broth after a personal trainer told her about its beauty-boosting abilities. And Ali Hanrahan, 25, decided check [it out] after reading about it in a fashion news blast.
“My boyfriend and I were talking about how cool it sounded and I just really wanted to try it,” says Hanrahan, who is launching a vintage clothing start-up called Goldnix.
Enough already. It’s bad enough that it’s now being sold as $22 cocktail monstrosity. Stop paying money for stock, people. It’s embarrassing.