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Meat is animal tissue (mainly muscle) used as food.

The common definition of meat is dependent on culture. Many Americans would exclude organ meat, fish, and other seafood from their definition of meat. Originally, the word meat meant simply "food." It is also used as a vulgar way to refer to the human body (see meat market).

Various meats
Various meats

For the most part, meat for human consumption comes from domesticated animals bred specifically for this purpose, and killed in an abattoir.

The use of other meats, such as venison, the meat of small game animals and a few other mammals, and even the meat of certain reptiles and amphibians, is not uncommon. The meat of a large array of other mammal species is eaten in some countries. What meats are used and the way they are cooked depends on the availability and cuisine.

Thin sliced meats used in sandwich-making are called cold cuts in the United States.

In recent years, forms of imitation meat have been created to satisfy some vegetarians' taste for the flavour and texture of meat, and there is speculation about the possibility of growing in vitro meat from animal tissue.


Taboo meat

Main article: Taboo food and drink

Some types of meat (such as pork or beef) are taboo for certain religions while others are taboo due to their association as pets in those countries, with the notable exception of rabbits in the West. Judaism labels the meat of some animals, if slaughtered properly, as kosher, or "fit", and the rest are considered not kosher, or "unfit" (also called treif, literally, "torn"). In Islam, permitted meats are termed halal. Until the mid-1960s, the Catholic Church forbade the eating of meat on Fridays. American Catholics are only asked not to eat meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and Fridays during Lent. Mahayana Buddhist belief forbids the killing of animals because of the bad karma believed to be generated. However Theravadin Buddhists may eat meat if it can be determined that the animal was not slaughtered specifically for their consumption. In Hinduism, which shares the Buddhist concept of karma, cattle are regarded as specially sacred, and even those Hindus who eat meat generally refrain from eating beef. Most Hindus regard killing of animals as a violation of the concept of ahimsa. It is estimated that approximately 30% of all Hindus are vegetarians. Jainism has vegetarianism as one of its central dogmas. Human meat is considered taboo in most cultures due to concerns of both murder and disease transmission; the term "cannibal" is a pejorative in those cultures.

List of meats

The following list of meats includes animals which some cultures never eat or do not consider meat, as well as endangered species.

See also

Wikibooks Cookbook has more about this subject:
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