I’ve been trying to get down to the heart of the marrow

Thank Don Henley for my title inspiration. If my intentional lyric change didn’t make it obvious, I’ve been dealing with some marrow woes.

Despite marrow’s fairly recent big ticket item status at bourgie dining establishments, I’ve never attempted to make it myself. The thought alone gets my palms sweaty. I’m not sure why I have so much anxiety about it, but as my dad always says – it is fear of the unknown. My dad is always mostly right, so I’m with him this time. Something about chartering this unknown territory literally terrifies me.

My first marrow memory goes back quite a few years. I was seven years old when my Trinidadian babysitter second mother Jen, a real master in the kitchen, presented lunch to my twin sister, Krissie and me that Tuesday at noon. I’m not entirely sure if it was a Tuesday, but I’d like to imagine it was on one of those early in the week school days. In any case, Jen whipped something together with beef shank and our treat after eating the “normal” meaty goodness was marrow from the bone. As a seven year old, I was most likely skeeved by the idea of eating meat jelly from inside a bone, but Jen was a firm believer in adventures in the kitchen and exposing us youngins to new foods. Not one to disappoint Jen (because I loved and continue to love her), I opened wide and stuck the fork full of marrow in my mouth. I can imagine myself initially chewing very quickly and taking very deep breaths through my nose. What I do remember is that it tasted especially beefy, but the texture was something from a dream. It literally melted in an instant, no quick chewing necessary, and before I knew it, it was gone.

In theory, this should all be very easy. The problem is I am not Jen. I am not a born cook and sometimes when you throw certain things at me, I don’t know what to do with them. In an ideal world, I should be able to very easily buy marrow, soak it, cook it, extract it, and eat it. I’m sure I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill, but this (and figuring out how to record Skype video chats) keeps me up at night.

I look at Daniel on the cover, with his encouraging smile and note these are recipes for the “home cook”, which I suppose is the category I’d fall under. All I have to say is you better be right about this, buddy.

I have a good lead on where to get my bone marrow.  I can either:

  1. Go to an Asian grocery store and hopefully haggle my way down to fairly inexpensive pieces of shank bone marrow.
  2. I can take a visit to John Dewar & Co., Inc., which is located in Newton not terribly far from where I live.

I’m leaning toward #2 because many smart foodies on Chowhound said this may be a good place to find bone marrow.  I did see some others also say Stop and Shop carries it from time to time, but  you have to ask the butcher if they have any since they don’t normally showcase it with the rest of the meat.

Choice #1 sounds like a good idea because it may be my cheapest option, but the thought of Chinese women seeing my Asian face and suddenly asking me questions in Cantonese makes me nervous that I’ll end up ordering something I don’t want.  For anyone who may not know this, I may look Asian, but I am a twinkie through and through.  My dad is Croatian and German and my mom is Italian and Irish.  I cannot stress the absence of Asian in me any more than I am right now.  Plus, I’m technically Korean.  My Chinese boyfriend thinks I look Chinese, which then only drives the point home that my predicted scenario at the Asian grocery store will most likely pan out.

I’m planning on taking a trip to the butcher on Monday.  If I have the nerve, I will bring my Flip and try to see if someone can give us some valuable know how on marrow.  Until then, I will try to grow a pair.

One response to “I’ve been trying to get down to the heart of the marrow

  1. Pingback: in loving memory « read . cook . digest

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