top of page

Soup Theory

Bone Broth Recipe and Lessons of Healing

I always joke that nobody ever taught me to cook; I just started doing what felt right. I imagine channeling leagues of Appalachian ancestors through my fingertips, tossing seasoning and butter in, and garlic from the heart. That’s not to say I was very good at it at first, but soup has always been something that I just “felt in my bones” - pun intended. A healing process from start to finish, it was Gina Norton of Bone Voyage seasoning that first put me onto bone broth.

I interviewed Gina for the formerly-standing Bisman Community Food Co-op; her story was one of chronic illness and stomach pain to the point of surgery.

“Making the broth in itself is a healing process,” she said. “Nothing is comparable to cooking your own homemade broth. Cooking became my coping mechanism, to fight past the pain and keep me upright, while struggling to digest each meal. The smells made me hungry, the pride of making my own broth lifted my spirits, and consuming it soothed my stomach.”

Gina’s doctors were floored when she made a full recovery and wasn’t malnourished as she should have been after having stomach surgery and eating nothing but bone broth - and I had a similar experience!

Most parents know that daycare turns your happy kiddo into a sneezy, stuffy germ magnet, and it was one of these times, when a particularly nasty virus was brought home, that I couldn’t stomach anything without the feeling of overwhelming nausea for weeks - no food, no coffee, no wine, only broth.

After recovering from sickness, and my weeks-long, broth-only diet, I felt better than I ever had.


During the dog days of COVID I took part of a free online course on Gastronomy from the University of Hong Kong via Coursera. I didn’t finish it, but the parts I did learn stuck with me. The most mind-blowing fact being that the way you interact with your food helps you digest it more efficiently.

Interact? Like how? We interact with our food in a number of ways - through sight, smell, taste, and “mouth feel” - all these things send signals to our brains down to our belly, where our body produces the chemicals we need in order to start the digestion process.

A study was done where two groups of people were given the same amount of fat - one in pill form and one in yogurt form - and the yogurt folks digested the fat more efficiently, since eating yogurt activates your senses more than taking a pill does.

On a molecular level, to unlock the full nutrient content of what we eat, we must evoke the senses. And what do we interact with on a more primal level than soup? Its warmth, texture, and tantalizing smells - steamy, delicious, inviting. It’s predictable, it’s nourishing, it’s accessible. Food, water, bowl, and heat source - humans have done it for millennia. It’s intertwined into our DNA, nourishing mankind since the dawn of time, from stone age stew to hunter's soup, a perpetual pot of stew served up by medieval innkeepers.

Sure, ingredients all have their benefits; I’m always nerding out about the healing powers of onions and I felt like a Health Wizard™ when I added turmeric root to my broth this morning, but I theorize that it’s actually the way we interact with soup - how every sense in our bodies tunes in - that make it particularly nourishing, and healing.

I explained this to a Buddhist friend once who said Buddhism teaches a similar sentiment about enjoying your food in order for it to properly nourish your body.

“When something is true,” he remarked, “it makes sense on all levels.”


Bone broth is known for its collagen, which comes from roasting and boiling the bones. It’s great for skin, hence why people call it “better-than-Botox bone broth”.

On an even more practical level, hot, salty broth opens the nasal passageways and lends electrolytes when you're sick, so harness the healing power of bone broth with this recipe!

This week’s bone broth consisted of beef bones from Frozen Farms of Calumet, organic turmeric, parsnips, onions, ginger root, leeks, oregano, whole garlic cloves, salt, and peppercorns. Don’t throw away your onion skins! Throw them into the pot for extra nutrients and flavonoids.


This recipe utilizes one 12-qt crock pot and 8-qt crock pot, and, after all is said and done, prepares one 12-qt crock pot full of bone broth.

If you only have one crock pot, reduce bones and veggie scraps by half.


  • 10 lb beef bones (grass-fed or from a local ranch, if you can. I special order mine from the Keweenaw Co-op)

  • All your favorite seasonings, fresh or dried (mine: oregano, thyme, sea salt, peppercorns)

  • Veggie scraps (truly almost anything. Celery, onions, shallots, garlic, carrots, to name a few)


  1. Acquire some bones. If frozen, thaw them in the fridge for 1-2 days.

  2. Roast the bones at 350°F for 3 hours. This brings forth their flavor.

  3. Let cool.

  4. Peel the meat off the bones. It’s okay if you leave little bits on there, but what you want is the bone.

  5. Throw the bones, veggies, and seasonings into your crockpot(s).

  6. Fill up the pot(s) with water.

  7. Cook on low for at least 12 hours.

  8. Let cool, then strain your broth into a big bowl using a strainer that attaches to a big pot. Be careful! (Ask me about my leg burns from f***ing this up once).

  9. Enjoy! You can freeze bone broth for up to six months. As for me, I like to put the strained broth right back into the crockpot on the “keep warm” setting and have it there for sipping until it’s gone. Or, divy some up into masen jars and hand out as gifts to friends.

Happy brothing.

By Lily Venable


Apr 04, 2023

This is so good. You must (unlike most people) proofread your work, because it never has any mistakes whatsoever! Very professional. This article is clear, entertaining and motivating. Makes me want to make broth.


Boyd Venable
Boyd Venable
Apr 04, 2023

Kick ass commentary

bottom of page