Mmmm. You wake from a full night of deep, restful sleep to the soothing sound of sizzling coming from the direction of the kitchen. You point your nose into the air to try to catch a whiff of whatever scent might reach your nostrils.
Could it be the wonderful smell of bacon? Perhaps it's sausage instead. Either way, you know you're in for a treat at the breakfast table this morning.
But where does that bacon and sausage come from? Now that you think about it, you've never seen a bacon tree. You've also never seen a field full of sausages waving in the autumn wind. What's the deal? Where does all that delicious meat come from?
If you're like most kids, you already know that meat comes from animals. In particular, bacon and sausage comes from pigs. The beef that makes up your favorite hamburger comes from cows. And the chicken in chicken nuggets? Of course, it obviously comes from chickens!
Meat comes from the muscle tissues of animals. This muscle tissue consists of mostly water, with large amounts of proteins and smaller amounts of fats and carbohydrates. Meats can provide much of the proteins our bodies need to be healthy.
Many human beings are omnivores, which means we eat both plants and animals. Since prehistoric times, humans have hunted animals to use their meat for food. Over time, humans learned to raise animals for meat production, including chickens, cows, pigs, and sheep.
The meat you eat on a regular basis probably comes from just a few animals, such as cows, pigs, and chickens. Around the world, however, many different types of animals are used for meat. While meat usually refers to muscle tissue and associated fat, many people around the world make use of the whole animal, including all sorts of other edible tissues such as organs.
Sometimes, certain cultures may use the term meat only to refer to the flesh of certain types of animals, such as cows, pigs, and sheep. These cultures may refer to fish meat as seafood and chicken meat as poultry rather than “meat."
When it comes to talking about meat, there's a wide variety of words and terms used. For example, when referring to the meat of a pig, you might generally call it pork, or you might instead refer to a specific type of pork, such as bacon or sausage.
The meat from a cow is known generally as beef. However, if the beef comes from a young cow, it's usually called veal. Likewise, the meat from an adult sheep might be called mutton, whereas the meat of a young sheep is usually referred to as lamb.
Meats from wild animals are still eaten today and also have special terms associated with them. For example, the meat of wild deer is known as venison. If you're dining on wild boar, you're eating the meat of wild pigs.