Beef is the culinary name for meat from bovines, especially domestic cattle. Beef is one of the principal meats used in the Cuisine of Australia, European cuisine and cuisine of the Americas, and is also important in Africa, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. In the Middle East, lamb is usually preferred over beef. Beef is taboo for Hindus and is not eaten by the Hindu population in India. It is also discouraged among some Buddhists.

Beef can be cut into steaks, pot roasts or short ribs, or it can be ground. The blood is also used in some varieties of blood sausage. Other beef varieties include the tongue, which is usually sliced for sandwiches in Western cooking; tripe from the stomach; various glands—particularly the pancreas and thymus—referred to as sweetbreads; the heart, the brain, the liver, the kidneys; and the tender testicles of the bull popularly known as “calf fries”, “prairie oysters”, or “Rocky Mountain oysters.” Beef bones are essential for making certain varieties of soup stock.

The better cuts are usually obtained from the steer; the heifer tends to be kept for breeding. Older animals are used for beef when they are past their reproductive prime. The meat from older cows and bulls is usually tougher, so it is frequently used for mince (UK)/ground beef (US). Cattle raised for beef may be allowed to roam free on grasslands, or may be confined at some stage in pens as part of a large feeding operation called a feedlot, where they are usually fed grain.

The United States, Brazil, Japan and the People’s Republic of China are the world’s four largest consumers of beef. The world’s largest exporters of beef are Australia, Brazil, Argentina and Canada. Beef production is also important to the economies of Uruguay, Nicaragua, Russia and Mexico.

Tuscan Meatballs

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

Classic Italian spaghetti and meatballs in a recipe that is easy to prepare.

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