HISTORY

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Overview:

A steak (from Old Norse steik, “roast”) is a cut of meat (usually beef). Most steaks are cut perpendicular to the muscle fibres, improving the perceived tenderness of the meat. In North America, steaks are typically served grilled, pan-fried, or broiled. The more tender cuts from the loin and rib are cooked quickly, using dry heat, and served whole. Less tender cuts from the chuck or round are cooked with moist heat or are mechanically tenderised.

Special steak knives are provided along with steak. Steak knives are sharper than most table knives and are usually serrated, though straight blades also work; they also often have wooden handles. Prepared condiments known as steak sauces are generally on the table in steakhouses. Tenderised round or sirloin steaks, breaded, and pan-fried or deep-fried, are called chicken fried or country fried steaks, respectively. Thinly sliced ribeye or other tender cuts, cooked on a hot griddle and shredded slightly, and served on Italian style rolls are called Philly steaks, named after Philadelphia, the city in which they became famous.

Regional Variations:

A restaurant that specialises in beef steaks is known as a steakhouse.

In the United States a typical steak dinner consists of a steak, with a starchy side dish, usually baked potatoes, but occasionally another potato dish, rice, pasta, or beans. A small serving of cooked vegetables often accompanies the meat and side, with corn on the cob, green beans, creamed spinach, asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms, peas, and onion rings being popular. A wellknown accompaniment to steak is shrimp or a cooked lobster tail, a combination often called “surf and turf” or “reef and beef” and “pier and steer”. Rounding out an American steak dinner is some sort of bread, usually a dinner roll.

In the United Kingdom, steak is typically served with chips (known as fries in the US), fried mushrooms and a fried tomato. Other vegetables such as peas, carrots or a green salad can also be served. English mustard and ketchup are condiments regularly used.

In France, steak is usually served with French fried potatoes or ‘frites’ as they are referred to in French. The combination is known as ‘steak-frites.’ Vegetables are not normally served with steak in this manner, but a green salad may follow or (more commonly) be served at the same time. This is also the case in Argentina.

In Italy, steak was not widely eaten until after WWII because the relatively rugged countryside does not readily accommodate the space and resource demands of large herds of cattle. Some areas of Piedmont and Tuscany, however, were renowned for the quality of their beef. Bistecca alla Fiorentina is a well-known specialty of Florence; it is typically served with just a salad or Tuscan beans. From the 1960s onward, economic gains allowed more Italians to afford a red meat diet.

In the Balkan region, steak is often rubbed with mustard and pepper, and marinated in vinegar and vegetable oil for up to a week. It is then fried in butter, and a slice of toast is then used to soak up the pan drippings. The steak is served on the toast and topped with optional fried egg and a sprig of parsley.

Worldwide steak sales have been known to rise around March 14th every year. It is unknown whether this phenomenon is related to Steak and BJ Day.

Get to know your Flank from your Filet in our guide.