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Food Products

( Originally Published 1926 )

427 Q. What is "extract of beef"?

A. Extract of beef is a yellowish-brown paste, obtained by boiling lean beef in vacuum kettles, then straining and evaporating the juice to the consistency of paste. It has a meaty flavor and is soluble in water. Extract of beef is not concentrated beef. It is used as a flavoring adjunct in giving zest to foods for invalids and convalescent people, and especially in enriching the flavor of stews, soups, and sauces. A jar of beef extract in the paste form contains from 45 per cent to 65 per cent meat extract, from 15 per cent to 25 per cent water, from 5 per cent to 20 per cent salt, and from 10 per cent to 20 per cent ash other than salt. The fluid beef ex-tracts on the market are dilute solutions of beef extracts in the paste form. They are sold in bottles and are much more expensive than the ex-tracts in the paste form as they contain more water, the water content of the fluid extract being about 50 per cent.

428 Q. From what are bouillon cubes made and how do they compare with extract of beef regarding ingredients?

A. Bouillon cubes consist of salt, beef extract, and plant or vegetable extract. The percentage of common salt in a bouillon cube ranges from 49 per cent to 72 per cent. Thus, from one-half to three-fourths of each bouillon cube is salt. The percentage of beef extract varies from 8 per cent in the poorest brands to 28 per cent in the best brands. The percentage of plant or vegetable extract varies, from 3 per cent in the poorest brands to 30 per cent in the best brands. While bouillon cubes are very low in nutritive properties, they have a certain value as a flavoring medium and as a stimulating and appetizing drink.

429 Q. What is "Benzoate of Soda," which term appears on some labels of condiments as one of the ingredients?

A. "Benzoate of Soda" is the trade name for Sodium Benzoate, a practically flavorless and tasteless chemical preservative, which is perfectly harmless in the small amounts commonly used, usually one-tenth of one per cent. Benzoate of Soda is found natural in cranberries, plums, and some other fruits, while it also occurs in nature in a number of vegetable sub-stances. (The Referee Board of Consulting Scientific Experts, appointed by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, have reported upon the use of benzoate of soda in foods as follows: "The Board reports, as a result of three extensive and exhaustive investigations, that benzoate of soda mixed with food is not deleterious or poisonous and is not injurious to health.")

430 Q. What is Angelique?

A. The candied leaf-stalks of an aromatic plant growing in many parts of Europe. The stalks resemble those of the rhubarb and, when candied, are used in making cakes, candies, and fancy desserts.

431 Q. What are the ingredients of ginger ale?

A. The usual ingredients are: Carbonated water, sugar, ginger, limes, lemons, and a very small amount of extract of red pepper (capsicum) to give it increased pungency.

432 Q. What is the official standard for butter?

A. The standard for butter, which is used as a guide by the Federal and most of the State and city foods officials, requires that butter shall contain not less than 82.5 per cent milk fat. This leaves 17.5 per cent for salt, coloring matter, and moisture. On the average, something less than 16 per cent will represent moisture. Butter that contains appreciable quantities of water above 16 per cent contains excess water and necessarily has less milk fat than the standard requires.

433 Q. From what is arrow-root made and for what is it used?

A. Arrow-root is the starch obtained from the roots of a small tropical plant of that name. It is a very finely powdered article, and is used chiefly in preparing food for children and invalids.

434 Q. From what is yeast made?

A. The familiar cake of compressed yeast is composed of millions of round cells, so small that four thousand of them, placed side by side, measure only an inch in length. Each cell is a plant by itself, capable of independent existence and endowed with the power of reproduction. Yeast is usually obtained by placing selected yeast cells in a mixture of corn, rye, barley, malt, and water. The yeast cells reproduce themselves by budding, and multiply astonishingly fast in warm temperature.

435 Q. Of what is malted milk made and for what is it used?

A. Malted milk is made by combining whole milk with the liquid separated from a mash of ground barley malt and wheat flour and by evaporating the water. It is sold in powdered form and is chiefly used for infant feeding and as food for invalids, dyspeptics, convalescents, and the aged.

436 Q. From what is chicory made and for what is it used?

A. Chicory is made from the roots of a plant, similar to the beet plant. The roots are kiln-dried, cut into small pieces, roasted in a coffee roaster, and then ground. It resembles ground roasted coffee, and is used as an addition to coffee, adding to it body, flavor, and color. In other words, it is used for the purpose of making the coffee "go further."

437 Q. What does "chili con came" mean?

A. This is the Mexican name of a Mexican dish. Translated literally, it means "peppers with meat." Chili con came, as sold in cans, is usually made of beef, brown or kidney beans, chili peppers, spices, and a little garlic.

438 Q. What is sal soda and what is saleratus?

A. Sal soda is the common washing soda, while saleratus is the common baking soda. Saleratus is generally referred to as baking soda, its scientific name being bicarbonate of sodium. The baking soda is a by-product in the manufacture of the washing soda.

439 Q. Are the food colorings that are sold in paste and liquid form harmful in any way?

A. No. They are perfectly harmless, being prepared from vegetable and other color ex-tracts and supplemented by dyes that are approved by the Government.

440 Q. What is zweiback?

A. A toast made from a specially baked bread. It is made by practically all of the biscuit manufacturers and is sold both in packages and in bulk. It is very much desired for invalids and children. In some places it is known to the trade as "rusk." ("Zweiback" is the German for "twice baked.")

441 Q. What is turmeric?

A. Turmeric is a yellow powder obtained from the roots of a plant of the same name and similar to the ginger plant. The yellow color extracted from the root is used in coloring some prepared mustards and other condiments, and is also used as dyestuff.

442 Q. What is the meaning of "Avoirdupois," which word appears on some labels in connection with the weight of the contents?

A. "Avoirdupois" is the name of the ordinary system of weights of the United States and Great Britain. It is used for weighing all articles except drugs, gold, silver, and precious stones. To say that a jar of honey, for instance, weighs 12 ounces avoirdupois means that the contents weigh 12 ounces, as distinguished from liquid ounces. "Avoirdupois" is a compound French word and means "goods of weight."

443 Q. What is lime juice and for what is it used?

A. Lime juice is the unsweetened juice of the lime, a fruit similar to the lemon but smaller in size. It is used for practically the same purposes as lemon juice.

444 Q. From what are junket tablets made and for what are they used?

A. Junket tablets are made from rennet, which is obtained from the membranes of the stomachs of calves, lambs, kids, and other young mammals, usually before they have had any other food than milk. It is the use of rennet that "turns" the milk in making cheese. The junket tablets are generally used in preparing junket desserts, which are made from lukewarm milk, usually sweetened and flavored with vanilla ex-tract. Dissolving the junket tablets in the warm milk coagulates the milk. (In addition to being sold in tablet form as "junket tablets," rennet is also sold in liquid and in powder form.)

445 Q. The labels of some of the food products state that the article is prepared with sulphur dioxide. What is the function of sulphur di-oxide?

A. Sulphur dioxide is used as a preservative, especially with articles containing sugar.

446 Q. From what is paraffine made?

A. Paraffine is a by-product in the refining of petroleum.

447 Q. What is water glass, and for what is it used?

A. This is the commercial name for a concentrated solution of sodium silicate. It is color-less and usually comes put up in quart tins. Water glass is used for preserving eggs. One quart of it mixed with 9 quarts of water that has been boiled and cooled, is sufficient to pre-serve 15 dozen eggs. At least two inches of the solution should be allowed to cover the eggs at all times.

448 Q. For what is boiled cider used?

A. Chiefly in making mince meat. It is also used in making plum pudding and some cakes.

449 Q. From what is ammonia made?

A. The common liquid ammonia is water saturated with a gas, consisting of nitrogen and hydrogen. Ammonia is a by-product in the manufacture of illuminating gas.

450 Q. Why has some ammonia a cloudy appearance in the bottle?

A. The cloudy appearance is caused by the addition of a small quantity of soap in the process of manufacture.

451 Q. What are the ingredients of mince meat as sold in the grocery stores?

A. The following are the ingredients commonly used in the preparation of high quality mince meats : Apples, beef, suet, seeded raisins, currants, citron, sugar, molasses, spices. In preparing the cheaper grades of mince meat, the beef and suet are usually omitted. Mince meat is put up both "wet" and "condensed"; the "wet" is sold in jars and bulk from pails, while the "condensed" is usually packed in small cartons.

452 Q. Of what is marshmallow cream made?

A. It is usually made of gelatine, corn syrup, and sugar, flavored with vanilla extract.

453 Q. What is the derivation of the word marsh-mallow?

A. Both the marshmallow cream and the marshmallow candy were originally made from the gum derived from the roots of the marsh-mallow plant, a plant similar to the hollyhock, and growing freely in marshes near the sea.

454 Q. How do oleomargarine and nut margarine compare as regarding ingredients?

A. The usual ingredients of oleomargarine are : (1) Beef oleo oil; (2) lard ; (3) vegetable oil (usually cottonseed) ; (4) milk; and (5) salt. The ingredients commonly used in the manufacture of nut margarine are: (1) Hard fats, most of which are derived from the cocoanut; (2) soft fats, such as peanut oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, etc.; (3) milk; (4) salt. Some high-grade oleomargarines contain a certain percentage of natural butter.

455 Q. What is oleo oil?

A. Oleo oil, also known as oleo, is the oil obtained from beef fat and other animal fats by removing the solid fats and the tissues.

456 Q. What causes some soaps to float?

A. Very fine air bubbles, injected into the soap in the process of manufacture.

457 Q. Of what is castile soap made?

A. According to a Government ruling, the term "castile" as applied to soap can only be used where pure olive oil is used, with no ad-mixture of any other fat.

458 Q. From what is cream of tartar made and for what is it used?

A. Cream of tartar is made from the purplish crystallized sediments (tartar) found at the bottom of casks containing wine. The tartar is gathered from the casks, boiled with water, re-fined, re-crystallized, and ground. In this condition it is known as cream of tartar. It is white in color and has an acid taste. It is used chiefly in the preparation of cream of tartar baking. powder.

459 Q. Why is some beeswax light in color and some quite dark?

A. A wax may be light or dark, depending upon whether the comb came from light-colored "cappings" or from old or brood combs, which are darker. The color of the honey also affects the color of the wax. The terms "light" and "dark" are relative, the color ranging from lemon yellow, from the best cappings, to nearly black.

460 Q. What are "Pates de Fois Gras"?

A. Potted goose livers, prepared with truffles. They are usually put up in small, fancy earthenware pots, and are very much prized by epicures. Imported from France.

461 Q. Why are Saratoga potato chips so called?

A. Because they were first introduced by a chef at a hotel near Saratoga, New York.

462 Q. What kind of oil is used in frying potato chips?

A. Cottonseed oil is almost universally used. Some manufacturers use other vegetable oils or compounds. Animal fats have not been found satisfactory for the purpose.

463 Q. Why is canned plum pudding so called when it contains no plums?

A. The real article, originally made in England, was made with plums, and while in this country we have substituted raisins, currants, and citron for plums, this dessert is still known by the old name.

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