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March 13, 2007
You can take a thick slice of stale bread and put it in the bottom of your soup bowl, with some grated cheese sprinkled on top. Then pour the soup over it and enjoy. You use bread you might otherwise throw away. People have been doing this for thousands of years.

You can put the dried-up rind of a cheese you're finished with into your soup as it cooks. Bellisimo.

You can make a trifle out of leftover stale cake: make a custard and layer the two in a bowl, adding a little raspberry jam on each layer. This works with leftover stale doughnuts, too.

A leftover biscuit can become a strawberry shortcake. It's the same dough -- just slice open the biscuit and fill with berries. Some cream on top and there you are. Peaches work, too.

The dishes long-ago people invented to avoid wasting food are delicious: much better, often, than the dishes for which you must make a trip to the store and buy exotic ingredients. With them, you get the gratifying knowledge that you've used everything you have. You feel thrifty, like a pioneer, like you're in "Little House on the Prairie." You think you could probably make it on a desert island if you had to, that the people who finally came and rescued you would be asking for your recipes on the helicopter ride back to civilization. You think your carbon footprint must have shrunk a bit -- when you've made something out of nothing.

Get a pound or so of beef bones from the shank. They don't have to have any meat on them -- you're in it for the marrow. The store sells them for practically nothing, since you are the only one who wants them.

Put them in an uncovered roasting pan and roast at 400 decgrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

Slice up some root vegetables -- maybe 4 carrots, 2 parsnips, half a large yellow turnip, a couple of onions or whatever else you have lying around. Chop some garlic. Put them all in a heap in the roasting pan. Stir around a bit, to mix things up, until the bones are sitting on top of the heap of vegetables. Return to the over and roast another hour. Halfway through, stir it around again.

Turn onto plates. Give everyone a bone and a heap of vegetables. Garnish with something: chopped chives, maybe, or some parsley or a spring of rosemary. Or just a grind of pepper.

Serves four.

Marybone was a suburb of London and the site of a famous pleasure garden -- sort of an eighteenth century amusement park. The park is long gone, but the name survives in a neighborhood which is, of course, no longer in the country. It was a rather extended pun: marrow-bone, of course (which is what this dish is based on) but also "Mary la Bonne," contracted into "Marylebone" or "Marybone."


Got a dish like "Marybone?" Something you make out of nothing? Send it to Debbie over in the HodgePodge at
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