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The meaning of "Meat"
The word meat comes from the Old English word mete, which referred to food in general. The term is related to
mad in Danish, mat in Swedish and Norwegian, and matur in Icelandic and Faroese, which also mean 'food'. The
word mete also exists in Old Frisian (and to a lesser extent, modern West Frisian) to denote important food,
differentiating it from swiets (sweets) and dierfied (animal feed).
Lamb is often sorted into three kinds of meat: forequarter, loin, and hindquarter. The forequarter includes the
neck, shoulder, front legs, and the ribs up to the shoulder blade. The hindquarter includes the rear legs and
hip. The loin includes the ribs between the two.
Lamb chops are cut from the rib, loin, and shoulder areas. The rib chops include a rib bone; the loin chops
include only a chine bone. Shoulder chops are usually considered inferior to loin chops; both kinds of chops are
usually grilled. Breast of lamb (baby chops) can be cooked in an oven.
Leg of lamb is a whole leg; saddle of lamb is the two loins with the hip. Leg and saddle are usually roasted,
though the leg is sometimes boiled.
Forequarter meat of sheep, as of other mammals, includes more connective tissue than some other cuts, and, if
not from a young lamb, is best cooked slowly using either a moist method, such as braising or stewing, or by
slow roasting or American barbecuing. It is, in some countries, sold already chopped or diced.
Lamb shank definitions vary, but generally include:
Lamb shank is cut from the arm of shoulder, contains leg bone and part of round shoulder bone, and is
covered by a thin layer of fat and fell (a thin, paper-like covering). Lamb shank is a cut of meat from the upper
part of the leg. Thin strips of fatty mutton can be cut into a substitute for bacon called macon.
These lamb recipes will assist you in exploring the variations of taste achieved by successfully cooking lamb.
Would you like to learn more about sheep meat language? See this Sheep Meat Language sheet from Ausmeat.