The Other I

July 12, 2013

A cultural discovery

Filed under: Cultural Differences,Food chains — theotheri @ 9:05 pm

Cuts of meat are not the same everywhere in the world.  A cow might be a cow, and when it is slaughtered, the cuts might be called “beef,” but after that, the variation in cuts is huge.  I have found that cuts in Spain, in France, and here in England have all often been quite mysterious, and I have come home with little idea of how to cook what I have purchased.

But I certainly was unprepared just recently for the biggest surprise of all.  Bavette and onglet are the names of two of the most delicious French steaks I have ever eaten.  Better even than rib eye or sirloin.  And very easy to cook – 3-4 minutes on each side a very very hot grille, followed by a (mandatory) 15 minute rest while you get the rest of the meal finished.

So what’s the surprise?

It is the discovery that bavette and onglet are what Americans call skirt and flank steak.

Skirt and flank steak were always fairly inexpensive cuts of meat in my day, because they require long slow cooking in order not to be tough.

But they aren’t tough if they are not cooked beyond medium rare.  They are simply superb served with sautéed mushrooms, and positively luxurious with a glass of red wine on the side.

Try it.  I’d love to hear what you think if you do.



  1. Interesting! Skirt and flank steak – names the same in England as in US? So once you know what you have bought it is a case of cooking it correctly? Sadly I find many economical cuts of meats remembered from my youth, do not get onto supermarket/ butchers shelves!


    Comment by lairdglencairn — July 13, 2013 @ 7:43 am | Reply

    • I think the skirt and flank steaks are very closely related in US and UK, though they may not be absolutely identical. Recently, I’ve seen several recipes by cooks here in the UK, and several have pointed out that different cooking methods can lead to quite different results.

      I know what you mean about many economical cuts simply not getting onto supermarket shelves. (I suspect they either get ground up and sold as “ground meet,” or put into dog food, don’t you?) My husband has found an on-line butcher in London whose cuts are more varied than anything we see in the supermarkets and which are all sourced here in the UK. And they’re cheaper too. Along with being delicious.

      My apologies for my delay in responding to your comment. For some mysterious reason, it was among the spammed comments that I have only just rescued from undeserved oblivion.



      Comment by theotheri — July 18, 2013 @ 8:33 pm | Reply

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