So focused on mission, rarely did anyone ask about flavor. It was as if the language of our grandmothers was distilled into one certainty: A healthy animal from good land and a fresh vegetable plucked from rich soil—looked after with care in the pot—will result in a delicious essence. —Rachael Mamane, Mastering Stocks and Broths
In 2010 Rachael had the bright idea to start a project in her spare time: Long-simmering culinary stocks, made with the best local ingredients, packaged for the home cook. This was about the time consumers were becoming more aware of the issues surrounding food waste, and well before bone broth became fashionable in health and hearth circles.
For three years she hand-produced small batches of culinary stocks, sometimes working 22-hour shifts to properly simmer, skim and sieve these extractions. By making use of lesser-used ingredients, such as bones and produce seconds, she wanted to illustrate how a basic staple could enhance the cooking experience of a home cook. Rachael's goal was to deliver excellence in a liquid. Her friends called her "The Queen of Flavored Water."
There was not much marketing effort required. It was when Daniel Boulud’s sommelier approached me for a sample that I knew this tiny business had a future. Little did I know the difficulties ahead: that much of our purpose would be in developing regional infrastructure, or that I would become a country girl. —Rachael Mamane, Mastering Stocks and Broths
At that time, Brooklyn was immersed in a culture of artisans—artists were making art out of found materials, chefs were crafting delicious foods from excess, and many young professionals were practicing old-world trades after work. It was clear that people were aching for comfort, a release from the demands of a strained economy. Brooklyn Bouillon received a lot of attention in those early years—from Food Curated to The Splendid Table, even The New York Times. Rachael was the crazy bone lady who would drive her tiny Jetta from town to town, collecting bones from responsible farmers and turning them into what chefs consider gold.
What she realized over time is that no reliable local infrastructure exists to support demand for the product. As the price of bones increased with the popularity of well-crafted broths, the business had to reassess its relevance. Rachael turned her attention to education about and economic development of local food economies—not just that of the Hudson Valley, but also those that cross borders. Now, more than ever, this conversation is about the health of a growing population. And while, on most days, a cup of soup might only be a cup of soup; for Rachael, it is a purpose, an essential nourishment, a comprehension about our future, always.
Some days it feels as though Brooklyn Bouillon has accepted Sally Fallon Morell’s charge of creating a “brothal in every town,” at least for my area. Our social intention is to be part of a larger conversation about wasted food; our goal is to continue innovating ways to extend a harvest that will feed more people. It might take another five years, or the work of a lifetime, but the present tastes delicious and the future looks bright. —Rachael Mamane, Mastering Stocks and Broths