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Meaning of meat and potatoes

meat' and pota'toes

Pronunciation: [key]
  1. the essential or basic part: Community service is the meat and potatoes of this program.

meat-and-po•ta•toes

Pronunciation: (mēt'n-pu-tā'tōz, -tuz), [key]
— adj. Informal.
  1. fundamental; down-to-earth; basic: What are the meat-and-potatoes issues of the election?
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.