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Meat is broadly referred to as the animal flesh used for human consumption. Commonly, the skeleton muscle of animal and fat associated with it is known as meat. Apart from this, the liver, kidney, lungs and brains also come under the category of meat. Usually, meat is the term given to the flesh of mammalian animals like cattle, lamb and pigs. For vegetarians, meat is not a suitable food item as it is considered as a non-vegetarian product. It is used to make innumerable meat dishes. Meat loaf, meat cutlets, meat curry and meat casserole are some of the popular meat recipes that are now a part of everyday international cuisine.

History and Origin of Meat

The word ‘meat’ is derived from the Old English word ‘mete’. In general ‘Mete’ is referred to ‘food’. According to the study of prehistoric life, meat was the main part of earliest human diets. Early hunters use to hunt deer and bison for its flesh. During the end of the last glacial period i.e. 10,000 years ago, the domestication of animals has started in order to organize and improve the production of meat. Though the meat industry is very old,the increasing demand by customers is responsible for the strong development of this industry. Western Asia, Mesopotamia and Egypt are the places that reflect the origin of sheep, cattle and pigs respectively.

Culinary Use of Meat

Meat is one of the main ingredients used in making innumerable meat dishes. Meat is readily available in any part of the world. There are numerous ways of cooking meat dishes. Minced meat casserole, meat stew, baked meat and grilled meat are some of the popular meat dishes that are well-liked in global cuisine. In a high-protein diet, meat recipes are highly acclaimed and are also considered suitable consujmption by kids. Meat dishes can be cooked in everyday meal as well as in parties and festive get-togethers. Some everyday meat dishes are meat loaf, meat pie, meat rice and meat sandwich. Popular festive meat recipes are lamb kebabs, pork roast, fried meat balls and tzimmes (festive beef dish).

Cuisines Commonly Making Meat Dishes

Meat is a non-vegetarian food item that is eaten in almost all cuisines. The style and preparation of meat dishes depends upon the food habits and taste of the natives of each cuisine. European cuisine is famous for its beef and veal preparations. In Asian cuisine, especially in India, beef is not the preferred meat but lamb and sheep meat is in great demand. Pastrami is a popular delicatessen meat dish in American cuisine. It is made up of corned beef. Hamburger is another meat dish that is popular world wide and it is an invention of European cuisine.

Preferable Cooking Methods for Meat

Meat is a versatile ingredient that can be cooked in innumerable ways. Some of the methods are as follows:

• Stewing – Meat stew is one of the most popular meat dishes in the international cuisine. It is made in crock pot or slow cooker in the combination of vegetables and spices.

• Barbeque – In this method meat can be either grilled or roasted. Roast beef or roasted lamb is the most common meat dish made by barbeque method. • Smoking – Meat is cooked by the process of flavoring it with coal or wood smoke.

• Pickling – It is also one method that is used to preserve meat in salt and spice mixture. Pickled meat can be eaten as a relish or side dish.

• Curried – Curried meat dishes are very popular in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. In this method meat is cooked or simmered in the onion and spice gravy. It is a very flavorful dish usually eaten with Indian bread.

Nutritive Value of Meat

The most important part of meat that is consumed in abundance is muscle tissue of animal and these tissues are rich in proteins. It contains amino acids that help in the overall development of body. Muscle tissues have less carbohydrates and dietary fibers. The fact that meat has high fat content cannot be denied but the fat content depends upon the breed and feed of the animal. Deer is considered leaner meat as compared to beef and pork. Usually beef, lamb, pork are called red meats and it is not considered healthy for people suffering from cardiovascular diseases. Buying and Storing Meat Meat should be picked from the market after carefully checking its packing date and expiry date. The spoilage of meat occurs very fast if meat is untreated or unprocessed. While buying meat, it is recommended to check that flesh looks fresh and pink in color. It is always better to buy freshly cut meat from butcher’s shop. Storage of meat is also a very important task.

Some points to bear in mind while storing the meat

• Store meat in the coldest part of refrigerator.

• Meat can be kept frozen in refrigerator for not more than 3 days.

• Cooked meat should be stored for at least 2 days.

• It is advised to cook meat as and when it is bought. Improper buying and storage of meat and meat dishes may result in meat becoming poisonous and unappetizing. Types of Meat The flesh of various animals is used as meat.Different types of meat available all over the world are listed below:

• Beef – Beef is referred to as the meat taken from the cattle.

• Lamb – It is basically the flesh or meat of sheep or goat.

• Pork – Pig meat is known as pork.

• Venison – venison is the meat taken from deer, either tamed or hunted.

• Veal – Veal is also referred to the meat from cattle but it is mainly taken from a very young cattle or calf.

Meat Trivia

• In America, beef consumption is 77.8 million times each day.

• Ground beef is the most selling type of beef.