Do Canadian Women Know How to Buy Meat?
Women and their Work
BECAUSE the question of marketing is such an important one and because the purchase of the family meat supply represents such an important item in the budget, it is well for every homemaker to get acquainted with the various cuts of meat.
As the result of a recent survey it was found that out of one hundred women buying meat—thirty-two per cent, bought chops, while fifty-three per cent, bought steaks and ’roasts. These large percentages would make one think that the meat animals would need to be composed entirely of steaks and chops in order to supply the demand, but, unfortunately, nature did not build them that way; in fact, the portions from which the steaks, chops and roasts come represent a little more than twenty-five per cent, of the carcass weight. Many fail to realize that if we are going to continue demanding chops and steaks, and not purchase cuts from the other seventy-five per cent of the carcass, we are, of necessity, going to have these two portions—the loin and the rib parts, carry the entire burden of the cost of the cattle.
In order to be a really efficient buyer, the homemaker should visit the market and talk with the retail dealer about the various cuts and grades of meat.
He will be glad to give worthwhile information, because he knows that the greater the housekeeper’s knowledge of meat, the greater will be his opportunity for disposing of the whole carcass.
After you know what type of meat you want to buy, the next important factor is to be sure that you are giving your family good, clean, wholesome meat. The way to assure yourself of this is to demand meat carrying the purple stamp of the Federal Government Inspector—this stamp bears the words “Canada Approved”—and has the number of the packing house or plant in which it was prepared for market.
Half the buyers of meat insist on getting choice cuts, which constitute only twenty-five per cent. of the meat animal, and ignore the other seventy-five per cent, of the carcass. The butcher must live, hence he makes the revenue from the choice cuts meet the cost of the carcass, and—the public moans about the high cost of meat. This article tells how to buy good meat at low cost.
The best grade of meat is corn-fed. The lean meat is usually quite thick and is well covered with fat. The fat is firm and •of a creamy white, giving the meat a marbled or mottled effect.
The lean part or muscle of good quality beef is firm to the touch, of an even texture and a light to medium red in color, and the surface of the meat is moist when exposed to the air. The muscle or meat fibres are short and the outer covering of lat is smooth, firm and evenly distributed. Such corn-fed beef is tender, even when cooked quickly. The cheaper grades of meat are usually grass-fed—the flesh is dark and the fibres are long and stringy. Another mark that reveals poor grade
beef is fat of a dark yellow or almost orange color.
Now, for a few words as to the cuts. In the packing houses, the beef animal is split down the back into sides, then each side is divided between the 12th and 13th ribs into a fore and hind quarter. It is in these quarters that you most frequently see the beef animal in the retailer’s shop. Your retailer may buy either the fore and the hind quarters or the entire carcass, and pays a flat price for this carcass meat; that is, the neck and the ribs or the loin cost him exactly the same rate per pound. That is why, as was stated before, the retailer, working for a living as he does, cannot afford to lose any money on the meat he is buying, and if we all demand these most tender cuts, we are forcing them up—it is a question of supply and demand. As with everything else, if the demand exceeds the supply, the price usually varies accordingly.
Now, in mentioning the names of the various cuts of meat, let us refer to the pictures. All of us know the round, or leg portion of the animal—but some do not know that the steaks coming from this section of the animal, commonly called round steak, have many appetizing uses, other than that of hamburger steak, or meat loaf. If your family is particularly fond of the latter two dishes, use a piece of round from what is known as the heel, a cut found just above the shank. Round steak from the upper round is most delicious when used in the preparation of a Swiss or Spanish steak, or steak and
onions; not to forget the appetizing braised or casserole dishes, for which this piece of meat seems particularly well suited.
Immediately above the round comes the rump. Rump steak, cooked in the casserole with tomatoes or seasonable vegetables, or rump cuts, either potroasted in the dutch oven or cooked in the roaster with Franconia potatoes, will please the most fastidious taste, because there is but a knife cut that separates the rump and round portions from the more expensive loin.
The tenderest meat in the hind and fore-quarters comes from the loin and rib portions. The steaks are all found in the loin. The first steak, counting from the large end of a loin, or the portion which meets the round, is the sirloin steak. Next are the porterhouse steaks; then the club or Delmonico steaks—these are the small or often called, individual or wing steaks.
Of course, everyone likes to have a steak now and then, but very often homemakers hesitate in purchasing a steak because of the tail, which when cooked rare is often too tough to be truly enjoyable. There are several ways of overcoming this. One is by cutting the meat from the tail portion of the steak, leaving the fat intact, and then grinding the meat. Twist the fat around so that it will make a loop and fit the ground meat into this loop, skewer with a toothpick or tie with a string, then broil or fry the steak, and when serving, serve a portion of the more tender cut with a portion of the ground tail piece. The other way of utilizing the tail of the steak is to cut it off before the meat is cooked and use it in the preparation of a vegetable stew to be served the next day. By following these two suggestions, many homemakers who have in the past felt the cost of a steak entirely too high for their budgets will be able to serve one at least once in a while.
Less Expensive Cuts
RIGHT below the loin is the flank of the animal. From this piece of meat come excellent cuts for stews and casserole dishes. The flank steak comes from this part of the animal. The flank steak is another excellent buy, because there is little or no waste to it. If the homemaker is careful when rolling the meat for stuffing, being sure to see that the meat is rolled cross-wise so that when served the portions will be cut not with the fibre but across the fibre, the meat will be even more tender and delicious.
The fore-quarter consists of the rib portion, from which we get our choice cuts, also the plate, the short ribs and the chuck. Right below the chuck and the rib portion is found the brisket (or breast), the plate and the shank (lower leg). Properly prepared, these cuts of meat are most appetizing. The chuck, in particular, offers many inexpensive and delectable dishes—not only that, but when studying the beef carcass, you will find that there is but a knife cut between the rib section and the chuck, and the first few cuts of the chuck may be used lor oven roasting or tempting steaks at considerably less cost.
From the nutritive standpoint, there is little or no difference in the various cuts of meat. However, some portions come from parts of the animal which were more frequently exercised, such as the leg or round; neck; shoulder; chuck; flank and plate, and which consequently are more muscular, with longer and coarser fibres. To compensate for being less tender and less easy to prepare, these cuts are usually juicier and more highly flavored. For that reason, just as much nourishment is obtained from the less expensive cuts of meat, such as the chuck, flank, etc., as from the more expensive steaks and roasts. Properly prepared, these meats are most appetizing, but as with everything, no matter what the cost of the meat, whether it is the cheapest variety or the choicest steak, it cannot be used to advantage unless it is properly cooked—poorly cooked food is always a waste. The chief difficulties encountered in cooking the less expensive cuts of meat are their toughness, due to muscular tissues. Pounding or scoring breaks the tough muscular fibres. Slow cooking, at a temperature just below the boiling point, will make even the toughest piece of meat tender.
Meat combinations, such as vegetables and meat stews, or the preparation of meat with bland foods, such as macaroni,
rice or other cereals, will offer tempting yet inexpensive meat dishes that will be enjoyed by every member of the family. At this season of the year the combination of carrots, rutabagas, turnips and onions with meat will not only be enjoyed, but will give your family the necessary food requirements.
All this is possible, if you do your marketing in a businesslike way—learn
water if necessary. It will take about three hours to prepare. This recipe may be followed in cooking rump, shoulder, brisket or short ribs.
Pot Roast With Dumplings
Quantity 4 lbs.
Time to prepare 5 minutes.
Time to cook 3 Y hours.
the characteristics of good meat and what seasons of the year certain vegetables are to be found least expensive.
Here are some recipes which tell how to make the best use of some of the inexpensive cuts:
Chuck Steak With Onions
2 lbs. chuck steak,
5 or 6 onions,
Slice onions in water. Drain thoroughly. Place onions in a shallow saucepan, cover closely and cook over a slow fire for 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Use no water or fat, as the onions contain both moisture and richness. When the onions are done, uncover and brown slightly if preferred, but they are more digestible without browning. Heat a frying pan smoking hot, and put into it steak which has been wiped with a damp cloth. Brown the steak quickly on both sides; reduce the heat and turn the meat frequently until
4 lbs. beef chuck or other inexpensive portion,
1 tsp. salt,
Y tsp. pepper,
2 tbsp. flour,
1 small onion sliced,
1 c. sliced carrots,
Y c. diced celery,
1 bay leaf.
Dredge beef with flour and brown thoroughly on both sides in kettle greased with suet or lard. Add hot water to cover; vegetables, salt and spices. Cover closely and simmer slowly 3 Y hours, keeping liquor below boiling point. Remove to a hot platter and serve with dumplings. Thicken liquor and serve with vegetables as a sauce for the meat.
3 lbs. brisket,
2 thin slices salt pork,
Y tsp. peppercorns,
3 c. boiling water
it is cooked through. Season the steak and salt the onions. Serve the meat on a platter with onions around it.
Roast Chuck, Rump, Shoulder, Brisket or Short Ribs
4 lbs. chuck,
Y tsp. pepper,
Y c. thinly sliced onion,
2 tbsp. flour,
2 bay leaves,
1 tsp. salt.
Wipe meat with damp cloth, then dredge it with flour. Rub skillet with suet and when pan is hot, quickly sear roast on all sides. Add seasonings, except salt. Roast in hot oven for fifteen minutes, sprinkle with salt, lower heat and cook slowly until tender. Baste every twenty minutes, adding a little boiling
Salt and pepper,
Y c. carrots,
Y c. turnips,
Y c. onions,
Y c. celery,
Wipe meat, dredge with flour and brown in drippings; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in baking pan and cover with vegetables, peppercorns and boiling water. Cover closely and bake 4 hours in a very slow oven.
Chopped Beef en Casserole
1 Y lbs. chopped beef neck,
lc. rice uncooked,
2Y c. stock,
Y ctomato relish,
3 tbsp. tabasco,
1 can beets.
Mix chopped beef with tomato relish.
Add three tablespoons tabasco sauce with salt and peper. Put into a casserole, alternating with the washed rice, add boiling stock and bake for two hours. Serve garnished with one can of beets quartered.
Quantity 4 lbs. shoulder clod. Time to prepare 2 Y¿ hours for braising, 25 minutes for planking.
4 lbs. shoulder clod,
At chopped onion,
A tsp. celery salt.
Y± tsp. salt,
Ys tsp. pepper,
Yi c. tomato ketchup.
Sear shoulder clod. Put into kettle with boiling water to cover. Add chopped onion, celery salt, salt, pepper and tomato ketchup. Allow to cook slowly for 2bá hours, adding more liquid from time to time as necessary.
Remove meat from kettle and place on a well-greased meat plank. Dot the top with oleomargarine or butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put beneath the broiler and broil for twenty minutes, basting with oleomargarine from time to time. After the meat is well browned, take plank from broiler. Surround with a border of Duchess potatoes and garnish with peas. Duchess potatoes can be made by adding the yoke of an egg to the mashed potatoes and forcing them through a pastry tube in rosette fashion around the outer edge of plank. Serve with a sauce made of melted oleomargarine or butter and chopped parsley, seasoned to taste.
Stuffed Flank Steak
Pound a large flank steak until it is flat, then make a stuffing of equal parts of sausage meat and breadcrumbs, seasoning with minced onion and thyme. Roll up, tie into shape, roll so that when served, the steak will be cut across the fibers. Brown in hot fat. Cover with stock or water and let simmer two hours. Skim and strain the gravy, thicken with flour and brown in oleomargarine or bacon drippings. Season with mushrooms and catsup and pour [over the meat or serve separately.
Use a pound and a half of the short ribs of beef. Put into a saucepan with two quarts of cold water, bring to the boil, and cook for two hours. Add a can of tomatoes, three large onions chopped fine, half a dozen cloves, a pinch each of sage and celery seed, one-fourth of the peel of an orange, two bay-leaves, a pod of red pepper, and two cupfuls of boiling water. Cook for half an hour, strain, skim, and thicken the gravy, season to taste, pour over the meat, and serve.
Beef Stew With Tomatoes
Use three pounds of the round of beef and cut into small slices. Cover with a can of tomatoes, add a chopped onion, and salt, pepper and powdered cloves to season. Cook slowly until the meat is done, add a little mushroom catsup, and serve.
Brown Beef Stew
Chop an onion fine, fry in butter, add three pounds of beef for stewing cut into convenient pieces, an onion stuck with three cloves, a tablespoonful each of butter, olive-oil, and lemon-juice, and a teaspoonful each of celery salt and minced parsley. Cook for three hours, take out the meat, skim and strain the cooking liquid, thicken it with flour cooked in butter, reheat the meat in it, and serve.
2 A lbs. round steak, cut one inch thick,
A c. flour,
YT. tsp. salt,
M tsp. pepper,
Onion (if desired)
Wipe the meat and sprinkle with A cup flour and seasoning. Pound this into the meat with a meat hammer or potato masher. Turn the meat and do the same to the other side. Place two or three strips of bacon in the bottom of a baking dish, place the meat over the bacon and brown both sides. Add Y¿ cup water or stock, cover and cook in a moderate oven for one hour.