Meat is the name applied to flesh and offal of animals which’ are slaughtered, and usually bred, for consumption. The term meat is applied to beef, lamb, mut-ton, pork, veal and game. Poultry is not classed as meat.
Meat is a valuable source of protein, mineral salts, iron, Vitamin A and the Vitamin B group. Meat is not, however, absolutely essential to the adult human diet, as is evident from vegetarianism and countries where cereals are the staple food. This is perhaps fortunate as meat is becoming increasingly expensive.
Meat is eaten raw, smoked, cooked, or cured. Meat can be cooked in almost any way – remembering, of course, that some methods suit certain cuts of meat better than others – older or tougher meat benefits from slow cooking. Pork must be thoroughly cooked because there may be a parasite present in the meat which causes the disease trichinosis.
Tastes and traditions vary in different parts of the world on how well-cooked various kinds of meat should be. FOR instance, in Britain lamb is always served well-done, but in the United States and in France it is usually under-done.
Basic methods of cooking meat include roasting, grilling , frying, steaming, poaching, stewing, braising, baking, boiling, or cooking over an open fire. Meat can be cooked on its own, with other ingredients, seasoned, moistened or flavoured.
Meat can also be chopped or minced , mixed with other ingredients such as bread, vegetables and cheese, and cooked.
Generally, 6 to 8 ounces of meat off the bone are allowed per person, and double that quantity on the bone.
Raw meat does not keep well unless it is stored in a cold place, preferably in the refrigerator. Larger cuts of meat will keep for a longer time, but for all cuts the maximum storage time is 3 to 4 days. Lean meat should be loosely wrapped, before storing, in greaseproof or waxed paper, cheesecloth, muslin or aluminium foil. Polythene is unsuitable as it
To carve Back and Fore Wing of Beef, first remove the chine bone with a thick carving knife.
Holding the Wing of Beef steady with a carving fork, slice it thinly down on to the rib bone.
Sirloin of Beef, on the bone, with the fillet. Grasp the chine bone firmly and sever it from the meat.
Steady the Sirloin with a carving fork and carve it right down into thin slices. retains heat and causes condensation. Meat encased in natural fat, or larded, should not be wrapped for storing. Broadly speaking, the most perishable meats are lamb, pork and veal.
Raw meat can be successfully stored in a home freezer, but it must first be wrapped in moisture vapour-proof paper such as aluminium foil, special waxed paper or thick polythene bags. High quality storage times vary from 3 to 6 months for small cuts and 4 to 9 months for larger cuts.
Cooked meat can be kept, covered, in a refrigerator for up to 2 or 3 days, or in a home freezer, wrapped, for 1 to 2 months. Smoked meats should not be kept in a freezer for more than 1 week.
Meat is always hung for some time before it is sold. The whole carcass is hung, head downwards, in a cool place or chilled room, and this improves both the texture and flavour of the meat. The meat is separated into cuts after hanging.
Game is unusual in that it is hung for a longer period, in a warmer place, until it has a noticeably ‘high’ smell and flavour.
Detailed information on how to buy and cook meat is classified in this encyclopedia under separate headings, according to the name of the meat – for example, BEEF, LAMB, PORK and VEAL.