The most important thing to understand when buying meat is where the cut comes from on the animal. That will determine what cooking method you will need to use.

Cuts from the legs and shoulders: These cuts such as the chuck, top round, bottom round, blade, and shoulder clod are typically tough cuts of meat. The reason is simple; these muscles work hard on the animal. Most of these cuts require long, slow cooking with some moisture (like a pot roast) to get a tender piece of meat.

Cuts from the loin: These cuts such as the tenderloin (filet mignon) strip loin (NY strip steaks), Rib eyes (prime rib, Delmonico steaks), T Bone, Porterhouse steaks, All are well suited to high heat and quick cooking.

When shopping for fish, look for those in the case with firm, translucent flesh. Any fish you buy should smell like the sea. Whole fish should have clear eyes, and red gills. These features mean freshness.

Texture of fish - the main difference between fish is the fat content and texture of the flesh.

Richer fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and bluefish stand up very well to aggressive flavors. Feel free to experiment with these fish by blackening or serving with sauces like curry or other aggressive flavors.

Lighter, leaner fishes such as halibut, flounder, and tilapia will be overpowered by aggressive sauces.

Sturdy, steak-like fishes such as tuna, swordfish and shark work extremely well on the grill and tend to stay intact after cooking.

Delicate fishes like flounder, salmon, and tilapia flake when fully cooked and need to be handled with care when removing from the pan, grill, or broiler.