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Published May 28, 2010, 12:00 AM

Put your knowledge of cooking to the test

“Is there a bandage around here?” the young man asked me, holding his hand. Oh, I need to stress knife safety, I thought to myself as I found a box of bandages in the food lab.

By: Julie Garden-Robinson, INFORUM

“Is there a bandage around here?” the young man asked me, holding his hand.

Oh, I need to stress knife safety, I thought to myself as I found a box of bandages in the food lab. Fortunately, the cut was minor. It was caused by someone dropping a knife in a sink of soapy water unbeknownst to this young man.

My student interns and I were teaching basic food preparation to student athletes who would be leaving the dorms and a campus meal plan with dozens of food choices on the daily buffets. Soon they would be cooking on their own.

Their coaches were eager to have them stay in shape by eating nutritious meals during their summer break.

I looked around at the food preparation lab, which has six kitchenettes. The room seemed extra small when occupied by a couple of dozen student athletes.

Although I’m not particularly short in stature, I felt quite small compared with guys who were probably 6 feet 4 inches tall and 250 pounds.

Before they attended our class, the student athletes took a cooking quiz that was provided by Betty Crocker Kitchens. We also had them rate their cooking knowledge and skills.

None of our students rated themselves as “ready to have my own cooking show on the Food Network.” About

69 percent rated themselves as average or below average in their cooking knowledge. Despite their less-than-stellar self-ratings, 75 percent would be cooking at least one meal a day for themselves during the summer.

We began the class by going through the answers to the quiz. Then they learned about quick and easy food preparation using a slow cooker, making a stir-fry, using a food thermometer, and measuring accurately. They prepared several items and tasted a variety of foods, including baked sweet potato fries, fruit salsa, stir-fry, pulled pork and slow-cooker baked beans.

All the recipes are available at www.ndsu.edu/eatsmart and by going to the 2009 “Eat Smart. Play Hard. Together” magazine. Additional recipes can be found in the “Cooking 101” series under the “For Singles/Couples” link.

If you were to take the food preparation quiz, how would you do? These are some of the questions from a national cooking quiz and are the ones most frequently missed by our group of students. Test yourself. The answers are at the end.


1. How much uncooked rice is needed to yield 1 cup of cooked rice? (13 percent of our participants answered this correctly)

a. 1/3 c.

b. ½ c.

c. ¾ c.

d. 1 c.

2. Which cooking method would retain the least amount of nutrients in vegetables?

(19 percent of our participants answered this correctly)

a. Microwaving

b. Stir-frying

c. Boiling

d. Steaming

3. How many teaspoons are in a tablespoon? (23 percent of our participants answered this correctly)

a. 2

b. 3

c. 4

4. As a general rule of thumb, how many “servings” are in 1 pound of boneless meat (ground beef or boneless chicken)? (48 percent of our participants answered this correctly)

a. 2

b. 4

c. 6

d. 8

5. How long should you keep leftovers, such as a casserole, in the refrigerator? (48 percent of our participants answered this correctly)

a. 1 day

b. 3 days

c. 5 days

d. 7 days

6. How long should you wash your hands before eating or preparing food? (48 percent of our participants answered this correctly)

a. 5 seconds

b. 10 seconds

c. 20 seconds

d. 1 minute

7. You would use a Dutch oven when preparing which of the following? (55 percent of our participants answered this correctly)

a. Lasagna

b. Cake

c. Beef stew

The answers are 1. a; 2. c; 3. b; 4. b; 5. b; 6. c; 7. c


After lots of joking, tasting and cleanup with no further injuries, our student athletes earned excellent scores when they took the quiz after the class. Here’s one of the recipes they tried and liked. We didn’t have any leftovers.


Slow Cooker Barbecued Beans

1 pound lean ground beef

1½ cups chopped onion

1 (16-ounce) can baked beans, undrained

1 (16-ounce) can kidney beans, drained

1 cup ketchup

4 tsp. prepared mustard (or to taste)

2 tsp. cider vinegar

¼ tsp. salt (optional)

Brown the meat with onions in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Drain any excess fat. Spray the slow cooker with a nonstick cooking spray or use a slow-cooker liner. Combine all the ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on low for six to eight hours or on high for two hours.

Makes eight servings. Each serving has 320 calories, 8 grams (g) of fat, 40 g of carbohydrate, 8 g of fiber and 720 milligrams of sodium.


Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., L.R.D., is a North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and associate professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences.

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