When my daughter was five years old, her code of eating (Oh, fruit flung far from the tree!) allowed her Cheerios, grilled cheese sandwiches, french fries with plenty of ketchup, and not much else, so she fairly stunned me one day by announcing that she wanted to try spareribs. Well, er, sure, I stammered in reply—but why? Because, she informed me, that's what wolves eat. I'm not sure that this is literally true. Wolves are fearsome creatures with healthy appetites, but I don't imagine they have occasion to sup too often on pig or cow—and if they were to, I doubt that they'd pay much attention to the principles of butchering that separate out the ribs from the adjacent portions of the carcass. But I can't help thinking that my daughter was on to something—that a great deal of the real pleasure so many of us derive from gnawing on blackened lamb-chop bones, crunching on charred tips of barbecued chicken wings, and scooping marrow out of osso buco veal shanks has to do with the fact that somewhere, way deep down, we know that that's more or less what wolves (or bears, or lions) do. In other words, I suspect that we like eating meat right off the bone at least partly because there's something purely animal about it—and thus something definitively, elementally human. Meat on the bone has roots.