Beef is the culinary name of meat from the domestic
cattle (cow, steer, ox or bull) and other adult members of the bovine family
(bison, buffalo, water buffalo, yak, and antilope).
The best beef meat comes
from an grass-fed animal about three to four years old. The composition of beef depends to a large extent on the breed of the
animal, the degree to which it has been fattened, and the particular cut
of beef in question. In fact, the way in
which beef is cut determines to a great extent the difference between
tender and tough meat and, consequently, the price that is charged.
The general method of cutting up a whole beef into large cuts is
shown in the picture below. The cutting of the animal, as well
as the names that are givento the various cuts, sometimes varies in different localities, but the
difference is not sufficient to be confusing.
(Excerpts and recipes used with permission from the book "Cooking with Kids" by Maya Gavric)