The Dark Side of Paris


Our romanticized vision of  Paris is of lazy mornings floating down the Seine.

But this post at Serious Eats reminded me of the darker side of Paris—bone marrow, served as an appetizer at most Parisian bistros. The dish is usually 3-inch sections of beef bone, roasted, so the marrow is rich and gelatinous, sitting upright on the plate, to be spread on toast with plenty of fleur de sel. It is greasy, flavorful, meat fat that spreads like soft butter.

bone marrow

It is not a dish I would recommend for delicate palates but had it been served with capers and onions to provide some contrasting flavor and texture, it would have been delicious. Served straight it was a bit overwhelming as an appetizer.

I seldom see this dish in the U.S. but I’m sure it will soon find its 15 minutes of fame in the giant, sucking maw that is the eat-it-if-it-is-exotic-until-something-else-comes-along U.S. food scene.

The post at Serious Eats has some interesting service ideas, so perhaps the “bone marrow moment” has arrived.

If the American palate becomes accustomed to bone marrow, perhaps andouillette, another Parisian delicacy, will be next.


It is a stinky sausage made of pig intestines usually filled with tripe. Mine was served cold with lots of mustard. When served cold the smell and taste are tolerable—a mouthful of rubbery fat essentially. When warm its “colonic” features become more evident. As the Wikipedia page says, “All have a strong, distinctive odor related to their intestinal origins and components. Although sometimes repellant to the uninitiated, this aspect of andouillette is prized by its devotees.”

If I might hazard a guess, I doubt we will see much of this on menus in the U.S.

What does it say about a country that eats this stuff? (or a country that doesn’t?)


  1. Aahh, your blog brings back such fond memories of times in Paris. Love the bone marrow and walks along river Seine; staring up at the Eiffel Tower. In Hungary, they serve bone marrow with toast and you just spread it on the toast and eat. Lovely appetizer! Now for the andouillette … I can skip all organs involved with excreting the body’s by-products. Just can’t be good for you. Thanks for sharing. Katy

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