Cooking On The Bone – Jennifer McLagan

A book review by Franz Scheurer


When I grew up in Switzerland literally everything was cooked on the bone. The same applied in the countries surrounding us; it was the norm. Unfortunately due to our time-poor life, we now prepare more and more items off the bone and supermarkets, always consumer savvy, have changed the way meat is marketed and packaged. So it’s like a breath of fresh air to see a cookbook (full of recipes, history and lore) that specifically deals with cooking on the bone.


I’m impressed that McLagan didn’t just write a pretty coffee table book but really immerses herself in the subject and looks at each animal in turn, talking about the different cuts, how to treat them and finally, in the recipe section, how to cook them.


Her stocks are solid and her recipes, including ‘roasted marrow bones’ (p.44), ‘Chinese-style oxtail (p.52), a brilliant ‘orange-campari-braised pork shoulder’ (p.65), an exotically spiced ‘lamb shoulder with preserved lemon & dates’ (p.100), the old-fashioned, but marvellous ‘chicken with forty cloves of garlic’ (p.140), an unctuous, gelatinous ‘fish head curry’ (p.175) and the unusual ‘tamarind, pineapple and chilli-glazed boar ribs’ (p.226). are down to earth and, although time consuming, really quite simple and definitely delicious.


For obvious reasons, this book doesn’t cover desserts in any detail, but the recipe for ‘marrow pudding’ (p.240), a type of bread and butter pudding is at least interesting.


(Grub Street, London, 2006)

ISBN 1 904943 47 0