Meat does not form a cheap source of proteid food, but the cost can be lessened very much by care in selecting the cheaper cuts. As a rule these cheaper parts need longer cooking than the more expensive tender cuts, and, as has been suggested before, the fuel must be taken into account in estimating their cost. Where the cheapness of the meat is not counterbalanced by the additional expense of the fuel a great variety and a satisfactory diet may be obtained with only the occasional use of the more expensive portions. As has been said, the nutritive value of the cheaper parts is as great as that of the more tender portions.
The nutritive value of meat soups, broths and extracts has been much discussed. Often in estimating this value too little allowance has been made for the method used in preparation. A clear soup contains a very small amount of real food. Its value lies in the extractives that give it flavor, and in the small amount of gelatin that it contains, and in its power to stimulate the flow of the gastric juices, and so whet the appetite rather than satisfy it. The meat from which such a soup has been made still contains a large portion of its nutritive value, and although because of its lack of flavor it cannot be used as it is, it may be made palatable and attractive by the addition of spice or seasoning, or by its combination with a small portion of fresh meat. Unless large quantities of soup are made, it ought to be possible, in the ordinary, household, to utilize the soup meat in some way.
The commercial extracts of meat are similar to clear soup in that they contain practically nothing but the extractives. A more nutritious broth may be made if the meat, cut in small pieces, is allowed to soak for some time in cold water and then is heated to a low temperature, not above 180 degrees Fahrenheit, and kept at this point for some hours. Toward the end of the process the broth may be brought to the boiling point for a few minutes in order to dissolve all the gelatin possible. The brown flecks of albumin that form must be served in the broth and not be strained out. Even made in this way, the value of the broth is small compared with that of meat, but it is much greater than that of the clear soup.
Raw beef juice is valuable as a food. If the beef be cut small, and thoroughly pressed, a much larger amount of proteid is obtained than by any other treatment. The round of beef, very slightly broiled and pressed, may yield as much as seven per cent of proteid and four per cent of extractives.