Friday, October 14, 2011


Finally. We're starting to feel that autumnal chill in the air--not that I'm complaining about the prolonged summer, or looking forward to what I hear is going to be the nastiest winter ever--but it's nice when the seasons act like seasons. The ground is crunchy and yellow with leaves everywhere we go, and burning fireplaces fill the cool evening air. This means it's time to act like Carl Weathers and get a stew on.

Or a soup. Just something warm, and tasty, and preferably made with an old ham bone. I'm now in possession of several of these smoky salty hunks of magic, and for some reason, the place I got them from (brought to me from Tennessee by a buddy) leaves all kinds of meat on these bones. I'd love to be a dog that got these bones. Anyway, we trimmed off some of the meat, crisped it up with carrot, celery and onion, then threw in the bone itself with water and some pearl barley. Finished it with some green lentils which thicken things up a touch and man, you've got a smoky, salty soup goin'. Oldest trick in the book--people have been using ham bones to flavor soups forever. And now's the perfect time to give it a try.

Meanwhile, we've got a great sold-out Brunch Salon happening on Sunday, but have a few seats left for the Welcome Autumn Salon next Saturday 10/22. It's going to be a warm, hearty, festive one, and I hope to see you there!


  1. Do you know where we can get ham bones in Chicago? Thanks!

  2. Well, for starters, they've got really good ham hocks up at Gene's Sausage in Lincoln Square. Paulina has some good ones as well. And that's the key--a smoked pork product of sorts, with a bone involved. So hocks are great. One could, of course, get their hands on a whole bone in ham, eat it, then use the remaining bones for the soup as in the days of old. but for this large, smoky flavor I speak of above, check out Benton's at They might just ship you some bones. Either way, speaking to them on the phone is just about as pleasant as a conversation can get--they really take their time with you. Check 'em out.