On November 17, 1966, more than 70 educational television stations presented a one-hour special, the National Food Buyers Quiz. The program was produced by WETA-TV, Washington, D. C., with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Consumer and Marketing Service.
1. One thing that shows the freshness of an egg is —
C — Height and thickness of the white. And this is one of the things that determine the grade of the egg. The two top grades — U.S. Grades A A and A — are ideal for all purposes but are especially good for frying and poaching because they have a high, thick white and a yolk that is firm and not easily broken. Such eggs “stand up” and don’t spread out much in the pan. U.S. Grade B eggs are good for general cooking and baking where appearance is not important since the white is thinner and the yolk may be flatter. Therefore, you may want to reserve the use of these lower-priced eggs for cooking where appearance doesn’t count. Graders candle eggs — that is, let light shine through them — to determine the quality inside. They also check the shape of the egg, the soundness and cleanliness of the outer shell. Now and then, they’ll break open a sample as an extra check on the quality inside.
2. How often have you seen sights like these in your market? Which of these is the best way to select a watermelon for ripeness —
D — The best way is to look for a yellowish underside. Regardless of the green of the rest of the melon, the yellowish underside is a good sign. Other signs of a good melon are a symmetrical shape and a dull surface. Unfortunately, there is no sure way of judging whether or not a watermelon is ripe without cutting or removing a plug from it. If you want to be really certain, buy a cut melon. A look will tell you if the flesh is ripe, firm and bright. Always avoid “white heart” — a white streak running lengthwise through the center of the melon. It indicates low quality.
3. You want red apples for a Waldorf Salad. Which grade would be the best buy?
C — U.S. No. 1. Choose the higher grades — U.S. Extra Fancy and U.S. Fancy — when color is important; the lower ones, like U.S. No. 1, when economy is important or when color doesn’t matter, as in making a salad.
4. A package of frozen vegetables says “Grade A ” on the label. This means it ...
B is the right answer. Here’s the difference. If frozen or canned fruits or vegetables actually measure up to the U.S. Department of Agriculture standards for Grade A, they can be labeled “Grade A” even if they have not been officially graded. Of course, in that case they would be mislabeled if they are not actually of “Grade A” quality. But you can be sure they have been officially graded if they have the letters “U.S.” in front of that “Grade A”, along with the official USDA shield and the statement “Packed under continuous inspection of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”
5. The hardest head of lettuce you can find is the best. True or false?
False. A head that’s not hard is normally the best. Look for heads with green outer leaves. Keep in mind that large, hard heads — often with light green outer leaves — may be over-ripe. Greener lettuce has more vitamins.
6. In selecting a melon , the best way to tell whether it’s ripe is to:
A — The best way to pick a good ripe melon — such as a cantaloupe, Persian, honeydew, casaba, or Crenshaw — is to make sure it “gives” slightly when you gently press your thumb against the blossom end. That’s the end opposite to the end where the stem was attached. You should also smell the melon, to see that it has a faint pleasant “fruity” odor. And make sure it’s free from any sunken, water soaked areas on the surface, which indicate deterioration.
7. Grade A on a bottle of milk means it’s been graded by the United States Department of Agriculture. True or false?
False. Fresh milk is not federally graded. Such grades are set by State or local governments.
8. You want to buy Cheddar cheese for use in a casserole. Would you choose —
A — Sharp. With aging or curing, Cheddar flavor becomes stronger and the Cheddar texture becomes more velvet-like and the body smoother and waxy. The sharper the Cheddar, the more easily it melts. Here’s a tip for cheese chefs: If a recipe calls for Cheddar, add the cheese when the dish is almost done. This helps preserve the Cheddar flavor. If it is a good sharp Cheddar, it will melt quickly.
9. The terms “Cheese Spread ” and “Cheese Food ” are names for different kinds of products. True or false?
True. For example, a pasteurized process cheese spread has, generally, more moisture and less milk fat than a pasteurized process cheese food , and the cheese food , in turn, generally has more moisture and less milk fat than pasteurized process cheese. There are various other differences in ingredients. This doesn’t mean one is better than the other. But it does mean there’s a lot to learn about cheese if you want to know what to buy for a special purpose.
10. You are more likely to find USD A Choice beef in your store than any other grade. True or false?
True. About 75 percent of the beef graded rates the U.S. Choice grade. That’s because it’s the grade preferred by most consumers, so cattlemen produce more of it than of the other grades.
11. You are planning a dinner for some very special guests , and want to buy some top grade beef — USD A Prime or Choice — that will make the most mouth-watering roast you can possibly get. Which of these cuts would you choose —
B — Rib roast. The top grades for beef come from young well-fed animals — and a Prime or Choice rib roast will be very tender and un-excelled in flavor. A rib roast is also easy to carve and serve. A rump roast also has very good flavor but usually is not as tender and juicy as a rib roast of the same grade. The chuck roast is a less expensive cut, and the higher grades of this cut can be oven roasted. But the chuck roast is not as tender as the rib or rump roasts.