The REAL difference between stock and broth

As posted in but I wanted to save it in my own journal just for fun.

Inspired by the “difference between stock and broth”…. Meanwhile, on another soundstage (now would be a good time to put down your beverage):

MARSHA: “So Alton, what’s the difference between broth and stock, anyway?”

ALTON: “You know, I would love to be able to tell you, but as I have said before, I’m not a food scientist. But, she is.” [points at SHIRLEY]

[SHIRLEY pops up from behind the counter]

SHIRLEY: “Wellll, Marsha, a broth is made mostly from meat, and a stock is made mostly from bones and connective tissue. Because it contains collagen, a true stock will cook down, and cook down, until there’s enough collagen to make it solidify when chilled and shloop…” [motions with her fingers] “…it comes together just like Jello. Chemically they are very similar, though gelatin desserts almost never taste like meat, they are in fact usually made from animal by-products like gelatin. A broth, on the other hand, will just cook down and get stronger and saltier but won’t solidify.”

MARSHA: “Well, I don’t understand all that scientific stuff, but I think that’s very interesting, about the meat Jello. Yet somehow disturbing too…” [MARSHA’s voice trails off as she turns her head and looks off into the distance.]

ALTON: “So, Shirley, do you mean that meat makes broth, and bones make stock, and never the twain shall meet? Or is there some middle ground?”

SHIRLEY: [motions with both hands] “Well, that’s the FUN part, there is a WIDE range between broth and stock, and plenty of gray area in between. It’s hard to find meat that is all muscle tissue and no connective tissue, and it’s hard to find bones and connective tissue with no meat on them. So there’s always going to be some stocks that are broth-like and some broths that are stock-like. I just go by whether it’s MOSTLY meat or MOSTLY bone, fat, tendon, ligament, et cetera.”

ALTON: “So when do you reach for the broth vs. the stock?”

SHIRLEY: “I’d love to tell you that, Alton, but I’m not a nutritional anthropologist… But Deb here is!” [motion toward DEB at kitchen table]

DEB: [puts down her newspaper] “Well, Shirley is right, there is a wide range, and sometimes overlapping in their functions. Some people use the two words interchangeably, and some people use the two foods interchangeably too. But, generally speaking, a broth is more often used to build a soup, while a stock can sometimes be used in soups, but may be used in sauces and a number of other foods as well.”

ALTON: “Ah, I see, so they are sometimes interchangeable and sometimes not. But, what about other ingredients? I’ve heard some people claim that stock can contain vegetables and such…”

DEB: “Well, technically, as soon as you put other stuff in it, and it’s no longer just a liquid that you can strain or filter, then you have a soup. Not broth or stock anymore at that point. No sir.”

MARSHA: “So why do some popular chefs on cooking shows sometimes say there’s no difference?”

DEB: “Well, I’d love to tell you, but as you know, I’m not a psychiatrist familiar with megalomania. But, Sigmund is!” [motions toward pantry]

[SIGMUND emerges from pantry. SIGMUND looks almost exactly like MAD FRENCH CHEF. ALTON and MARSHA look stunned to find someone in the pantry.]

SIGMUND: “Ah, you have hit zee nail on zee head. Megalomania it eez indeed. It eez also known in scientific terms as ‘Big Head Syndrome.’ We find this eez all too frequent with professionals whose career is built around popularity. It eez inevitable as they grow more popular that the inzanity starts to creep in, and suddenly they have no idea what they are saying, nonsense words, but it doesn’t matter. They must say something other than ‘I don’t know’ because ‘I don’t know’ doesn’t exist in their universe.”

ALTON: “My God, does that mean anyone with a cooking show is doomed to become inzane? I mean, uh, insane?”

SIGMUND: “No, only twits who don’t use natural talents and hard work. Only if their own popularity is the main ingredient, does eet become a vicious cycle that will consume them.”

ALTON: “Whew. You had me scared there for a minute, Mad– I mean, uh Sigmund.”

[ALTON looks around the room and everyone looks back at him expectantly. ALTON then slowly backs away from all the people who have suddenly appeared in his kitchen and steps into another room.]

ALTON: “Well, we hope we have been able to inspire you to make a clear liquid from meat or meat by-products that is flavorful, versatile, and heck, just plain good. It doesn’t mean you have to eat it by itself. These clear liquids, collagen or no, have plenty of uses, whether you are going in the soup direction or flavoring other foods. Because whether it’s broth or stock, either way it can be seriously… well, you know.”

[PAN and ZOOM back to kitchen where MARSHA is trying to leave, but SIGMUND is gesturing for her to lie down on the couch.]

MARSHA: “Now, I don’t understand what my mother has to do with it! I’d really rather leave now, you are kind of strange. ALTON!!”

[FADE to black.]

0 thoughts on “The REAL difference between stock and broth

Leave a Reply