WHETHER or not meat is absolutely essential to the human body has never been adequately worked out, but animal flesh has been from earliest times the staple article of diet wherever it could be found. It is true that the American Indian subsisted largely upon maize, and developed enormous strength in the practice, but it is likewise true that he ate meat whenever it was available. There is a flavor in the so-called "extractives" of meat which nothing can altogether replace, no matter how firmly we may be convinced that other foods contain as much or more protein and fats.
The cooking of meats is more important, perhaps, than the cooking of any other kind of food, as good cooking enhances and poor cooking lessens or destroys the nutritive value. In general it may be said that cooking develops the pleasing taste and odor of the meat and softens and loosens the protein of the connective tissues, thus making the meat more tender. Extreme heat, however, tends to harden the albuminoids of the lean portions and to weaken the flavor of the extractives.
Fresh meat should never be permitted to soak in cold water, as cold water draws out the juices. It should in most cases simply be wiped with a damp cloth, and if washed should be dried immediately.
Meat is in most households the most expensive food placed upon the table and unfortunately not always the richest from the physiological standpoint. It therefore behooves the housewife to buy as wisely as possible and to consider some of the suggestions found in the following pages for cooking the cheaper cuts of meat.
"Take the side of a steer lying in a butcher shop and consider it as composed of three equal parts," says Dr, Harvey W, Wiley,
4. Shoulder clod 5. Fore shank 6, Brisket
7. Cross ribs
9 Navel 10. Loin 11 Flank
14, Second cut round
15 Hind shank
Diagram of Cuts of Beep
"At wholesale prices one of these parts will cost the butcher today 6| cents per pound, another 7½ cents, the other 16 cents. Now, there is not the slightest difference in the quality of these three cuts. One tastes just as good as the other and is just as nutritious if properly cooked. The only reason that one part costs more than twice as much as the other is that there is twice as much demand for that particular cut of beef. The average family uses cuts that come from 28 per cent of the steer. This leaves 72 per cent of so-called 'rough meat' in the carcass that costs only about half as much as the other 28 per cent. Yet, I repeat, there is no practical difference in the meat. One can be made just as palatable as the other, and the ordinary housewife can almost cut her meat bill in two and, at the same time, set just as good a table as usual if, instead of buying the expensive cuts, she gets the cheaper ones and prepares them carefully."