"El jueves estuve comiendo carne de res."
Translation:I was eating beef on Thursday.
I used "steak" and it was rejected. I though steak was cow meat, what's going on?
A steak isn't necessarily beef. It's a cut of meat prepared by frying, grilling, broiling, etc. It could be beef, pork, veal, etc., even fish.
Steak is too specific. Beef (cow meat) would also include ribs, hamburger meat, liver, etc.
In English, we usually use different words to refer to a living animal as opposed to that same animal as food. A cow is an animal, beef is food. A pig is an animal, pork is food. You would be understood but it's not really correct.
This all has to do with the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 and the fact that Anglo-Saxon (Old English) was relegated to a second-class status and Norman French became the language of government, trade, and society.
Normans didn't interact with the animals (just the meat) as much as the working classes, like farmers, tradespeople, etc. (who were native Anglo-Saxon speakers) did, and so the Norman words (poultry, beef, pork, etc) have persisted as the terms for the flesh of the animals, while the Anglo-Saxon words (hen, cow, swine) became the names of the animals.
I never knew this. It's good info, and shows how studying the history of a language can inform a study of the people who speak it.