The Kitchen as Laboratory Quiz

The Kitchen as LaboratorySure you love a great grilled cheese sandwich but do you know the science behind what distinguishes a good from a bad sandwich? Test your knowledge of the science and psychology with this quiz based on The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking, edited by Cesar Vega, Job Ubbink, and Erik van der Linden.

Click here for the answers.

1. What is the ideal pH for a good melting cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich?
a)    ~0–2.6
b)    ~2.7–3.4
c)    ~5.3–5.5
d)    ~6.8–7.0

2. The crunchy sound of an apple being bitten into is mostly transmitted:
a)    through airwaves
b)    through the skull
c)    through scent
d)    through touch

3. When onions are cooked to a dark color—resulting in a smooth texture, a sweet taste, and an intense scent—this is due to a chemical reaction known as the:
a)    tenderizer
b)    onion tears
c)    onion discoloration
d)    Maillard reaction

4. The ideal temperature range for the Maillard reaction to occur is:
a)    0–32ºF (–17–0ºC)
b)    90–98.6ºF (32–37ºC)
c)    113–158ºF (45–70ºC)
d)    230–340ºF (110–170ºC)

5. What term is used to describe the swelling of granules and an increase in viscosity when starch is heated with water?
a)    gelatinization
b)    freezing point
c)    boiling point
d)    foaming

6. Foams are created when two incompatible phases are mixed together by dispersing one into the other. What are these phases?
a) gas into liquid
b) ice into gas
c) steam into water
d) oil and water

7. Before the invention of refrigeration, people routinely cured foods by drying, smoking, brining, salting, marinating, immersing them in alcohol, or fermenting them. What do all these techniques have in common?
a)    they kill microorganisms in food either by removing water or by changing the acidity
b)    they involve immersion in water
c)    they could be done only by specialists outside the home
d)    they were invented by the Vikings

8. Heat transfer refers to the motion of heat, a form of energy, through or near food. Which of these is a type of heat transfer?
a)    radiation
b)    conduction
c)    convection
d)    all of the above

9. What popular childhood treat is made by exploiting the concept of the “glass transition temperature” (Tg) of sugar?
a)    ice cream
b)    cotton candy
c)    licorice
d)    popcorn

10. Studies show that diners rate higher satisfaction with dishes that were initially described to them with:
a)    adjectives that suggest how the dish will make them feel (for example, refreshed or nostalgic)
b)    details about the origins of the ingredients and the distance traveled (for instance, from California)
c)    adjectives that identify the cooking process (for example, steamed or grilled)
d)    props or pictures that show the finished product (for instance, a dessert cart)

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