Words & Photography by Hannah Fuellenkemper
It was a bone but he’d placed it in front of me as if it were cake. There had obviously been a misunderstanding (ours) – from the waiter’s vague gestures at his forearm I thought I was getting a leg of something. You know, with meat on.
But no, it was a bone.
Ten years and an appreciation of eating marrow later and this is a funny story; one of those small food dramas that I continue to dramatise. At the time, however, I was horrified. Sure, mom had always said that it was the marrow that made broth so good for you; so good that I could visualise the bones, their souls pooling on the surface of your bowl as you spooned it up. But up until now, I’d only ever seen ‘empty’ bones. Half chewed by dogs or drained by soup. I had no real idea what marrow really was or that people spread it on toast.
Spread over toast or steak with a burst of lemon juice, finely chopped red onion and a grate of coarse salt, by now I prepare it at home. It’s incredible to think this grey glump of primeval coding is what makes up our framework, but I know why dogs like it so much.
4 sizeable marrow bones cut through the middle (beef or veal)
2 shallots, diced
Half a small jar of capers, finely chopped
Parsley, finely chopped
Lemon (for the juice)
Put the bones in a pre-warmed oven (about 200) and roast until turning brown on top and the marrow starts to loosen.
Chop the shallots, capers, parsley and mix together in a small bowl.
To serve, scrape the marrow out and spread onto the toast; top with parsley mixture, salt, pepper and lemon juice.