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If you're keeping track of some of the upsides to the economic recession (good deals on cars, cleaner air, less congestion), add this one to the list: better steaks.

The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating story (no subscription required) about how high-end steak houses used to snap up most of the best steaks in the country, leaving consumers gnawing on substandard steaks at home. Now, though, with steak-house dinners becoming a rarer luxury amid cutback in expense accounts, the best steaks are finding their way into stores, and selling at affordable prices.

The Journal reports: "Two years ago, the only way most home cooks could get their hands on beef varieties such as USDA prime was to buy them in a gourmet store or by mail order, which could be as expensive as a steak-house dinner. But now, not only is steak-house-quality beef easier to find; in many cases, it is selling for little more than standard supermarket meat."

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