Meat is the king of food, the foundation of a hearty meal and the cornerstone of a perfect diet. All substances necessary to gain energy and strength are present in meat. Throughout history meat has been the food of winners - conquerors and masters.
All along human history meat has been one of the most important components in food preparation. First, the meat of wild beasts and fowl (game) was used, and later the meat of domesticated animals and fowl. Food preparation methods and the culinary ways of cooking meat are in constant development.
Meat is one of the most important foodstuffs from which humans obtain vital nutrients (animal proteins, vitamins, minerals, etc.) and energy.
The energetic value of meat is quite high. Eating meat gives additional energy.
Meat is a valuable fill for it contains lots of vitamins and minerals, increasing the body’s stress-resistance.
Eating a well-prepared and finely garnished meat dish is a real pleasure, especially when it is accompanied by a suitable drink, pleasant company and agreeable surroundings.
Eating a meat dish makes you feel full for a couple of hours.
Abstaining from meat might result in health problems for human beings need in a balanced proportion vegetarian as well as animal food.
Meat can be prepared in an endless variety of ways and is suitable with a large number of other foodstuffs.
Weightwatchers should prefer low-fat meat, such as beef, lean pork, rabbit, skinned poultry, etc. Tenderloin, which is the softest and most tender cut, also suits well.
The daily portion of meat and meat products should be around 175g.
Meat has taken on an ever larger importance in the diet of Estonians. On the one hand, it is the result of increased awareness, but on the other hand, the abundance of the ways of preparation. Certainly the wide selection of meats in supermarkets is one factor contributing to the above trend, encouraging people to try new and exciting flavours.
The trends of meat consumption vary worldwide over different regions. In many countries it is beef that is mostly used for food, in others, mutton. In Estonia the most popular meat is pork which is followed by chicken, beef and turkey. To a much lesser extent Estonians eat mutton, veal, rabbit and game.
Throughout history Estonians have deeply loved pork and that has not changed over time. Pork was, is and will be the cornerstone of Estonian cuisine.
On the average, Estonians consume 65 kg of meat and meat products a year of which half is pork. Despite that the amount of meat sold per person is only half of the same figure in Spain or Denmark, for example. All in all, meat consumption of the rest of the European Union exceeds the corresponding Estonian figure by a third.
The quality of Estonian pork is very high and ever larger sums are invested in the pig breeding industry. As a rule, pork sold in Estonia is of domestic origin. Estonian pork is preferred mainly because people rely on its high quality and freshness. It is quality that is the most significant indicator of meat. In the context of the world’s leading meat producers, Estonian production volumes are still quite small.
The world’s largest pork producers are China, the US, Brazil, Spain, Denmark and Germany. For example, in Denmark the ratio of pigs and people is 5 to 1 while in Estonia the same ratio is only 1 to 4.
The greatest producers of beef are India, Brazil, China, the US, Argentina and Sudan. Among the leading European beef producers are France and Germany.
Sheep breeding is practiced on a wide-scale in China, Australia, India, Iran and New Zealand. The leading European mutton producers are the UK and Sweden.
Enn Tobreluts (product manager of meat, AS Rakvere Lihakombinaat) - author of the books Meat Book and Grilling and Barbecuing published in the series 100 Recipes.