An essential ingredient in many traditional soups, including Philadelphia Pepperpot - the soup that saved the American Revolution. These have fallen out of use by Regular Americans as so many wish to avoid any animal part that actually looks like part of an animal. They are easily available in ethnic markets.
More on Beef Shanks
Buying: Here in California Calif Feet are found in markets serving Mexican, Eastern and Southeastern European, Turkish, Armenian, South American, Levantine and Middle Eastern communities, and we have plenty of all those. If the feet are whole, have the butcher bandsaw them into slices - this service is normal and generally provided without cost.
Prep: Feet sold in California are thoroughly cleaned with the outer hoof and all hair removed. If you buy pre-cut feet or have the meat market bandsaw them into convenient pieces there is no prep except a quick wash to remove any saw kerf residue. If you have purchased them whole, use a meat cleaver driven by a heavy soft faced mallet to split them lengthwise first and then crosswise.
Cooking: When making soup stock you'll want to simmer for at least 8 hours, more is better. For Khash (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan) 10 to 12 hours.