Food commodities are those ingredients which are combined together to get a complete meal. They refer to the entire sources from which we derive the food nutrients. Food commodities include the following:

  1. Meat
  2. Poultry
  3. Game
  4. Fish
  5. Vegetables
  6. Fruits
  7. Eggs
  8. Milk and milk products [ cheese and yoghurt]
  9. Food Additives [colouring and flavouring].


Meat is the muscle or flesh derived from animals after slaughtering them. It consists of bundles of muscle fibres joined together by connective tissues and connected to the bones by tendons. A certain amount of fat is embedded in the connective tissues in between the fibres.


  1. PROTEIN: The major nutrient in meat is protein of the first class because it contains all the essential amino acid.
  2. MINERAL ELEMENTS: Meat is rich in mineral elements like sulphur, calcium, phosphorus and iron.
  3. VITAMINS: It contains vitamins such as the B-complex vitamins e.g. riboflavin, thiamineand nicotinic acid. The fatty meat like pork is rich in vitamin A and D.
  4. FAT: Meat provides fat from the connective tissues between the fibres.
  5. WATER: Meat contains water but the percentage of water varies according to the type of meat. 


Since there are different types of animals, it follows there will be different types of meat.

Animal Source Name
Cow Beef
Calf Veal
Sheep Mutton
Young sheep Lamb
Pig Pork, Ham, Bacon
Bush animals like rabbit, antelope, deer Game
Soft white fat from pig Lard
Hard fat from other animals Suet
Domesticated birds Poultry


  1. Define food commodities.
  2. List and explain the nutritive value of meat.


Meat from different parts of the animal are called different cuts of meat. Examples of cuts of meat are:

  • Head
  • Neck
  • Chuck
  • Rib-roast
  • Brisket
  • Ox-tongue
  • Ox-tail
  • Leg beef etc.


WHITE MEAT:  They are more tender in texture with less amount of fat and connective tissues e.g. veal, rabbit, chicken, etc.

RED MEAT:  They contain more fat and connective tissues e.g. beef, pork, lamb, etc.

LEAN MEAT:  This is the part of the meat that contains little or no fat.

EXTRACTIVES:  These are the water soluble parts of meat responsible for the flavor. They are extracted from the meat by boiling in water. They account for the variation in the taste between different kinds of meat. 

OFFAL:  The internal organs of animals which are eaten as food are called offal.  These include liver, kidney, tripe, sweat bread tongue, brain, lungs, etc. They are rich in protein, mineral elements, vitamins B complex, etc. They are highly perishable and should be cooked as quickly as possible if no refrigerator is available.


  1. Colour: The colour of quality meat is purplish, Red or blood red. dark brown or black meat should not   be chosen.
  2. Odour: Meat with an offensive odour should not be chosen.
  3. Tenderness: This refers to the measure of the toughness softness of the meat. Tenderness should be considered in relation to the type of cut required, the purpose for which the meat is meant and the cooking method to be used.
  4. Lean meat should be bright red with very little unnecessary fat.
  5. The cut surface of any meat must not be dry but moist.
  6. In young animals, the bones should be pink and porous so that when cut, a degree of blood is seen in their structure.

Factors affecting the tenderness/toughness of Meat

The toughness or tenderness of meat depends on the age and activities of the animals.

  • Older animals have thicker, longer gristle muscle fibers (tough meat).
  • Younger animals have thinner, shorter fibres with less connective tissue (tender meat).
  • Animals whose muscles have done more active work are stronger and tougher and have more connective tissues than muscle from other parts of its body which have less work to do.

Tough meat can be tenderized in the following ways:

  • Beating with rolling pin i.e. mechanically tenderization
  • They may be acted upon by enzymes e.g. papain s in pawpaw leaves.
  • Boiled with seasoning e.g. garlic, onions, etc.
  • By hanging.
  • By adding crushed tomatoes before cooking e.g. in the preparation of soups
  • By cooking in a pressure cooker.


The various methods of cooking meat are:

  • Boiling
  • Frying
  • Stewing
  • Roasting
  • Grilling

Effects of Heat (Cooking) on Meat

  1. Cooking makes meat digestible by converting the connective tissues into gelatin.
  2. It improves the flavour and appearance.
  3. Cooking helps to remove some of the fat which may be indigestible if too much is consumed.
  4. It causes shrinkage due to coagulation of protein, loss of juice and loss of fat. 


  1. Salting – Meat can be pickled in brine (solution of salt and water).
  2. Chilling – Meat is kept at a temperature just above freezing point in a controlled atmosphere.
  3. Freezing – Meat can be kept frozen until required and then thawed out before use.
  4. Canning – Large quantity of meat can be canned with the aid of some chemical preservatives e.g. corned beef.
  5. Smoking- Meat can be preserved by smoking. The smoke from the fire or charcoal contains some chemicals such as phenols and aldehyde that are natural preservatives.
  6. Drying- Meat are cut into desire shape, wash and salted then spread in the sun to dry.                        


  1. State five ways in which tough meat can be tenderized.
  2. State three ways meat can be preserved.


This is meat derived from some domesticated birds such as chicken, duck, turkey and guinea fowl, etc. Poultry flesh is classified into two:

  1. a) White meat derived from the breast and wings. White meat is more digestible than the dark meat.
  2. b) Dark meat derived from the legs, thigh and drum stick. It is more muscular and coarse.


Chicken is the most popular type of poultry used in catering and are available in various types which include:

  1. Spring Chicken: 4-6 weeks old.
  2. Broiler Chicken: 3-4 months old and they provide soft meat which could be fried, grilled or roasted to provide soft juicy meat.
  3. Cockerels and Old Layers: They provide tough meat which can be prepared by stewing or to prepare soup.
  4. Old hen: used for stocks and soups.


  1. Proteins: Like meat, poultry flesh is rich in protein of good quality. It is a 1st class protein that contains all the essential amino acids.
  2. Fat: Poultry have little fat which lies under the skin and around the giblet. It is not embedded in fibres as in meat.
  3. Mineral salts: Poultry contains iron and phosphorus.
  4. Vitamins: Poultry have small quantity of the B-complex vitamins, but less nicotinic acid around the legs.
  5. Water: Poultry meat contains water.


  1. What is poultry meat?
  2. List and explain two types of meat derived from poultry.


  1. The legs should be smooth and pliable.
  2. The weight of the bird should be more than that of the feathers after plucking.
  3. The eyes of the bird should be bright and sparkling.
  4. The breast should be plump.
  5. The comb and wattles should be small, bright red and attractive in colour.
  6. There should be no grain of corn in the crop.
  7. The bird should not be too old.
  8. It should be lively and strong.


After killing the bird, its carcass becomes stiff, rigid and difficult to bend. This stage is known as the period of rigor mortis. Hang the bird the bird for at least one hour to enable rigor mortis to be over, then the flesh will become relaxed and tender. Alternatively, pluck and prepare immediately the bird is killed.

Raw poultry has a very strong flavor. To remove this, squeeze a whole lime or lemon on the cut pieces, rub well and then rinse with water.


Poultry can be stored in two forms:

Live- The live poultry is one not yet killed.

Dressed and frozen- The dressed poultry is already been killed and plucked. This type is usually stored in the freezer and maintained in frozen condition.


  1. State three factors to consider when choosing poultry.
  2. List two ways in which poultry can be stored.


Game is collective name given to certain wild birds and animals that are eaten for food. It refers to any animal hunted for food.

Game is classified into three types:

  1. Those with feathers, which is those that can fly e.g. wild duck, eagles, ostrich, etc.
  2. Those with furs on their bodies e.g. rabbit, antelope, grass cutter, etc.
  3. The non-furred like alligator, etc.

Food Value:  They are less fatty than poultry or meat, and is more easily digested with the exception of water fowl which has oily flesh.  Game is useful for building and repairing body tissues and for energy.

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Hanging: is essential for all game.  It drains the flesh of blood and begins the process of disintegration that is vital to make the flesh soft and edible and also to develop flavor.


  1. Define food commodities with examples.
  2. Define the following: a) Lean meat b) White meat
  3. Discuss preparation of poultry for cooking.
  4. Differentiate between poultry and game.
  5. State three to prevent electric shock in the kitchen.


  1. Poultry meat refers to meat derived from _____ A. bush animals B.  land animals
  2. domesticated birds D. flying birds
  3. Which of these best describes game? A.  Wild bush animal         Domesticated birds C.  Sea animals D.  Poultry
  4. The dark meat in poultry is obtained from the ____ A. head of the bird B.  legs of the bird
  5. intestine of the bird D. breast of the bird
  6. Meat from young cow is called ____ A. mutton   pork C. veal D.  lamb.
  7. Which of these is a game? A. Cow B.  Fish C. Turkey D.


  1. List and explain three factors to consider when purchasing meat.
  2. Mention and explain two types of chicken.

See also

METHODS OF COOKING – DRY HEAT, Baking, Roasting & Grilling

METHODS OF COOKING: Stewing, Frying, advantages & disadvantages

METHODS OF COOKING: Boiling, Poaching & Steaming


FLOUR COOKERY: Types of flour, Raising Agents & Flour mixtures

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