Quiz: Can You Pass This 50s Home Economics Class Quiz?

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If you were one of the students who loved Home Ec and killed it back in high school, we have the ultimate challenge for you. We know you've got the know-how to pass a modern-day home economics exam, but do you know what it was like in the 50s? If you'd like to find out how you'd score, take this fun quiz!

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1. Which of these cakes has a rich melted center?

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  1. Angel food cake
  2. Molten lava cake
  3. Carrot cake
  4. Apple pie
A molten lava cake got its name because of its liquid chocolate center. The cake itself is a combination of a traditional souffle and a flourless chocolate cake.
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2. Which of these describes how meat is seared?

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  1. Exposing the meat to high temperatures for color and flavor
  2. Putting mean in an oven to cook slowly
  3. Cooking some meat then dunking it in some cold water to cool
  4. Battering meat then frying it in lots of oil
Searing meat is when its introduced to a high temperature so that it can brown quickly. This cooking technique is said to enhance both the appearance and flavor of the meat.
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3. What's the name of this tool, which is meant to make items flatter?

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  1. Whisk
  2. Sautee pan
  3. Spatula
  4. Rolling pin
Rolling pins are used to shape and flatten dough. There are different types, all of which are used for rolling everything from cookies to pizza.
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4. Which of the following factors would determine how long a piece of meat needed to roast?

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  1. Weight
  2. Time of the year
  3. Country of origin
  4. Experience of the cook
When a recipe would advise how long meat was supposed to be cooked for, it was because that time was measured by minutes per pound. Other factors included were what kind of meat was being cooked.
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5. Which of these describes how you would fold a batter?

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  1. Singing into the batter in a way so there's no air left inside
  2. You can't fold a batter
  3. Mixing it without losing any air
  4. Slicing the corners twice, making the batter neater
Folding a batter is a technique where the ingredients are mixed in a way where no air is lost. This is because air is necessary for the batter to rise.
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6. When is it okay to tip a bowl of soup (to get to the bottom of the bowl)?

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  1. Never
  2. When you're the host
  3. Only on Sundays
  4. When no one is looking
While it's not against the law to tip your bowl, it is not considered to be good etiquette. It would be better to get another helping of soup.
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7. What is the name of the baking item shown here?

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  1. Pastry cutter
  2. Coffee maker
  3. Food processor
  4. Mixer
Also known as a pastry blender, a pastry cutter is a tool used to mix a solid fat like butter, into flour; it breaks up the hard butter into smaller pieces, making it easier to mix.
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8. Which of these unexpected foods was supposed to be washed before cooking?

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  1. Eggs
  2. Beef
  3. Wheat
  4. Onions
Eggs were meant to be washed. It was because the contents of the egg would run over the outer shell; a shell which would accumulate dirt and bacteria.
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9. Which of the following desserts requires lady fingers?

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  1. Panna Cotta
  2. Gelato
  3. Tiramisu
  4. Chocolate cake
Lady finger cookies or biscuits are often used as a base for tiramisu. Before being added to the dish, it is soaked in coffee or a liquor.
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10. How do you know when egg whites are properly beaten and are stiff?

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  1. This is a trick question, they don't get stiff
  2. When they feel hard
  3. When the peaks stand straight
  4. When they turn brown
The easiest way to make stiff peaks is by beating the eggs with an electric mixer. The eggs should be beaten until the peaks stand up straight (when the mixer is lifted).
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11. How often was one's hair supposed to be washed?

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  1. Once a year
  2. Once every two weeks
  3. Once every six months
  4. Once a month
It was recommended that hair be shampooed at least every two weeks; more often if the hair got dirty.
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12. What was the purpose of a food mill?

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  1. To store food while it ripens
  2. To puree food
  3. To hide food
  4. To clean food stains
A food mill is used to puree food. Back in the day (and still to this day), this device was used to make everything from vegetable soup and baby food, to mashed potatoes.
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13. What's the name of this spice, which is used in sweet and savory dishes alike?

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  1. Cinnamon
  2. Parsley
  3. Turmeric
  4. Cumin
Many people are not aware, but cinnamon is the bark of a tree that has been stripped and curled. It is a popular baking ingredient, but it can also be found in savory dishes like chicken biriyani.
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14. Based on this whisk's shape, what kind do you think it is?

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  1. Garlic press
  2. Balloon whisk
  3. Pizza cutter
  4. Grater
This is a balloon whisk. It is designed in a way that increases the amount of air brought into the foods that it whips.
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15. Which list of ingredients are needed to make a basic white sauce?

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  1. Cardamom, water, sugar, milk
  2. Turmeric, cloves, flour, rhubarb
  3. Fat, flour, salt and milk
  4. Butter, oil, margarine, beef stock
A basic white sauce only requires flour, butter (or some other fat), salt and milk. Other ingredients like white pepper can also be added.
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16. About how many times was it advised that meat be flipped while being pan-fried?

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  1. Once
  2. Three times
  3. Sixteen
  4. There's no limit
It's advised that meat is only flipped once, when cooking. Flipping too often can cause the meat to break or fall apart.
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17. In the 50s, what was the best way to clean a pot or pan with burned food?

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  1. To let water and soap simmer in it
  2. To throw the pan away - there's no getting it off
  3. To scrape it off
  4. To let it sit for two weeks while letting the burned food deteriorate
Soap water should be placed into the pot or pan and brought to a simmer. Scrubbing afterwards should remove the stains.
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18. In what order were dishes supposed to be washed?

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  1. Utensils, silver, china, glass
  2. Glass, silver, china, utensils
  3. Utensils, china, glass, silver
  4. Utensils, glass, silver, china
The general rule of thumb in the fifties was that the cleanest dishes would be washed first and that the cooking utensils would be last.
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19. How often was a toilet supposed to be cleaned?

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  1. Once a year
  2. Once a month
  3. Every time you buy a new toilet
  4. Once a day
A 1954 homemaking textbook says that toilets were meant to be "washed daily with a strong soap, a long-handled brush, or a cloth which may be burned afterwards."
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20. Which dish would have been served first during a three-course meal?

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  1. Steak
  2. Soup
  3. Rice Pilaf
  4. Cheesecake
Soups are generally considered to be appetizers and will be served before the main courses which often include meat like chicken, fish or steak and the dessert.
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21. Which of these cakes is meant to be served upside down?

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  1. Red velvet
  2. Pineapple
  3. Bananas foster
  4. Trifle
The pineapple upside down cake is an old-fashioned cake, which, despite its look, is extremely delicious. It was so named because its toppings are at the bottom (it's upside down). After baking, the cake is flipped, so that the toppings are now at the top.
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22. Which of the following is an advantage of using a pressure cooker?

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  1. You can monitor the food while its cooking
  2. Nutrients are retained and the flavor is better
  3. You can forget about it
  4. You can add seasoning while you cook
The longer foods are cooked for, the more nutrients are destoryed because of the heat. Pressure cookers cook food at a faster rate, retaining moisture and flavor.
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23. How are utensils supposed to be chosen at the dinner table when there is more than one option?

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  1. Use whatever you want
  2. Work from the outside in
  3. Work from the inside out
  4. Alternate each side during each course
In a formal dinner, the utensils have already been placed in their correct positions. Start from the outside and work your way in for every course.
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24. Which of these vegetables can be served creamed?

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  1. Mushrooms
  2. Spinach
  3. Corn
  4. All of the above
All of the options given are vegetables that are usually served creamed. The process requires the vegetables to be cooked and then placed into a mixture of butter, liquid cream and a few other ingredients.
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25. How often should a sink have been cleaned?

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  1. Once every three months
  2. Never, the water and soap wash it out while the dishes are being washed
  3. Once a year
  4. Every time the dishes were washed
A kitchen sink, understandably, was meant to cleaned every time dishes were washed. It was often done with the same sponge used on the dishes, or a wash cloth that was stored close by.
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26. Which of these items was used in the fifties to make coffee?

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  1. Coffee wasn't invented yet
  2. A percolator
  3. A French press
  4. A Keurig
Although some still use this device today, percolators were popularly used to make coffee up until the seventies, when drip coffee makers were introduced to the market.
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27. Which of the options below is known to restore copper's brightness?

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  1. Oil and butter
  2. Ketchup and salt
  3. Vodka and sugar
  4. Sand and paint
Ketchup was incredibly huge back in the fifties and so, was applied to more than just food. Equal parts salt and ketchup should be used with a soft cotton or hemp cloth.
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28. What would you get if you mixed two cups of water and one tablespoon of cornstarch?

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  1. A mess
  2. Spray starch to iron with
  3. A headache remedy
  4. A chaser
Cornstarch has a number of functions around the house and in the kitchen. One of them is that it functions as a spray strach for ironing, when added to water.
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29. How often would a woman's stockings need to be washed?

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  1. Once a year
  2. Every time they were worn
  3. They should never be washed
  4. Once every six months
According to Experiences in Homemaking (1954), a woman's stockings should have been washed every time she took them off.
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30. What happens to a loaf of bread when the dough is undercooked?

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  1. It loses flavor
  2. It changes color
  3. Nothing
  4. It will sink
If dough is undercooked, it will remain heavy and cause areas where it is located, to sink.
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31. Can you finish the saying? "Table manners tend to match the _____________."

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  1. Butterfly
  2. The law
  3. Table
  4. Curtains
This is a saying which explained that the more beautiful, welcoming or appealing a table was set, the more likely the mood of diners would reflect that. If a table had a cheerful vibe, it would help those who ate at it happier.
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32. Which alcohol was often left in the kitchen because it was used when cooking?

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  1. Ouzo
  2. Cream
  3. Sherry
  4. Chicken stock
Sherry is a cooking staple in Europe and other places in the world. It can be added in everything from sauces to cakes.
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33. Which culinary use would a mallet be used for?

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  1. For season frozen foods
  2. For cleaning glass items
  3. For tenderizing meat
  4. For breaking hard foods
A mallet is used to tenderize raw meat. Storage and cleaning is very important where this tool is concerned.
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34. Which popular dish is most likely to be "basted"?

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  1. Pizza
  2. Cereal
  3. Chicken soup
  4. Thanksgiving turkey
A baster is a device which sucks in and then releases juices. It is used to add moisture to meat that is being roasted, keeping it moist and tender.
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35. It was customary for people in the fifties to do what, as soon as they woke up on mornings?

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  1. Sing the national anthem
  2. Open the window
  3. Sing a happy tune
  4. Kiss their mothers
It was commonplace to open up your window after you woke up. The reason was so that you could air out your bedroom while you were eating breakfast.
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36. Of these dishes, which was set ablaze?

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  1. Salad
  2. Pancakes
  3. Roast beef
  4. Bananas foster
In the bananas foster dish, the food is often set ablaze using a cooking technique called flambeing. The alcohol in the dish is set on fire, burning some of the alcohol off.
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37. What was the purpose of a clothespin?

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  1. For baking meat
  2. For hanging clothes on a line
  3. For better TV reception
  4. For keeping curtains on the rods
Clothespins are used to secure wet or damp clothing to clothes lines. The device was believed to have been created in the early 19th century.
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38. What was the work a mother did in the home referred to as?

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  1. Landscaping
  2. The packet
  3. Income tax
  4. Labor income
Experiences in Homemaking explains that "When estimates have been made of what it would cost to pay other people for the various tasks the mother does in caring for her home and family, it has been found that the mother’s time is as valuable as the average father’s time in terms of money.This contribution, which the mother makes to the family income is called labor income."
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39. Which of these is not an ingredient in a cherry pie?

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  1. Cherries
  2. Custard
  3. Sugar
  4. Dough
Unless you're making a variation of cherry pie, custard isn't a normal ingredient. You do, however, need cherries, sugar and dough.
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40. What does it mean to "julienne" a vegetable?

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  1. To cut it into long, thin strips
  2. To assign it a gender
  3. To cook it whole
  4. To eat it raw
The word "julienne" is a French cooking term which means to cut food (mostly vegetables) into short, thin strips.
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41. What kind of stains are removed with water and lemon juice?

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  1. Cheese
  2. Soy
  3. Tears
  4. Sweat
A mixture of water and lemon juice is not strong enough to remove deep stains like wine and blood, but it works like a charm to get armpit stains out of t-shirts.
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42. Back in the day, it was customary to stand behind one's chair until who took their seat?

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  1. The hostess
  2. The owner of the house
  3. The Queen
  4. The youngest at the table
In the fifties, you had to stand behind your seat until the hostess got to theirs. Said hostess would also be the one who gave the signal for leaving the table.
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43. Which of these ingredients was meant to be sifted?

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  1. Rice
  2. Leaves
  3. Flour
  4. Cheddar cheese
Of the options, flour is the only one that can be properly sifted. It is something that is done to remove the lumps before cooking.
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44. Which classic dish is most likely to have a lattice on top?

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  1. Rice pudding
  2. Pie
  3. Ice cream sundae
  4. Strawberry shortcake
A lattice crust requires bakers to weave strips of dough on top of a pie. It isn't something that every pie has; cherry and blueberry are classics for the lattice top, while apple pies don't always have them.
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45. How was bread and butter supposed to be eaten?

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  1. Use only one swipe of butter and bite every 5 seconds
  2. Dip the bread in the butter, blow, then bite
  3. There are no rules on how to butter and eat bread
  4. Break off a piece of bread then butter it - repeat after each bite
According to Experiences in Homemaking, the correct way to eat bread and butter involved buttering and eating small bites.
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46. On which side was one supposed to rise from their chair?

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  1. The back
  2. The front
  3. The left
  4. The right
Back in the day, it was considered correct to both sit down and get up from the left of one's chair. This was so that no one would bump into each other.
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47. Which of the following was a woman NOT supposed to do, to prepare for their husbands arrival after a hard day's work?

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  1. Listen to him
  2. Order take out
  3. Touch up her makeup
  4. Minimize the noise
Many home-economics classes sought to prepare future housewives for their duties as wives and mothers. Having a home-cooked meal ready on the table for tired husbands was considered to be a priority. As one book noted: "this is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him, and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed."
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48. With which spoon should you eat your breakfast cereal?

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  1. A serving spoon
  2. A salad spoon
  3. A spork
  4. A dessert spoon
To eat your breakfast cereal, only small spoons were permissible. Either a dessert spoon or teaspoon could be used.
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49. How many days in advance should you send out invitations to your holiday party?

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  1. 10 days
  2. 2 months
  3. what invitation?
  4. 1 day
10 days notice was standard for written invitations to events. Holiday invitations could be sent on a christmas card, calling card, or bright red note paper.
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50. Which of the following statements was considered common knowledge?

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  1. Women are more athletic than men
  2. Women are more accurate tasters than men
  3. Women are better at mathematics than men
  4. Women have better vision than men
It was once believed to be a scientifically proven fact that women had better taste buds than their male counterparts, able to distinguish between sweet, sour, salt, and bitter flavours much more accurately .
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51. What does it mean to "dredge" meat?

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  1. To run it through a shredder
  2. To coat it with flour or cornmeal
  3. To make it paper-thin
  4. To dry it out in the sun
The word "dredging" seems a lot more hardcore than it actually is. It simply means to cover the meat with flour, something that helps seal moisture in.
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52. How do you avoid facial wrinkles?

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  1. Get plenty of sun in the summer
  2. Botox, baby!
  3. Eat lots of chocolate
  4. Spend a few minutes a day, lying with your feet above your head
Spending time lying down with your feet above your head was thought to be essential to stopping the aging process. Other anti-wrinkle skin care tips included keeping a normal weight, and avoiding dramatic facial expressions.
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53. What should you NOT do if your child refuses food, but wants to eat between meals?

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  1. Refuse to give him or her any food at all
  2. Relax the exactness of meal hour
  3. Give them detention
  4. Look for an emotional cause
Early 20th century psychologists did not encourage a show of love between parents and children, often advising parents against hugging, kissing, or otherwise coddling them. They did not, however, go so far as to suggest the complete prohibition of food.
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54. Where should you serve soup at your dinner party?

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  1. In the kitchen
  2. In the bedroom
  3. In the parlor
  4. In the dining room
Serving the first course in the parlor (or living room) was not only a fashionable way to host guests, but also practical! In doing so, you avoided having to change your table settings over, and over, and over again.
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55. High blood pressure could be caused by any of the following, except:

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  1. Your husband getting promoted
  2. A report you're about to give to the Parent Teacher Association
  3. Small Janey tracking mud all over clean floors
  4. Smoking
Smoking was not connected to high blood pressure until much later than the 1950s. In fact, the 50s were heydays for cigarette companies. Per capita cigarette consumption skyrocketed from 54 a year in 1900 to 4,345 a year by 1963.
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56. Which of these was not a kind of table service?

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  1. Tonic
  2. Melange
  3. English
  4. Russian
The three types of table service are Russian, English and compromise; the last was a mixture of the first two.
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57. To keep her husband's attention, a wife should do everything BUT:

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  1. Remain courteous, and never raise her voice above a conversational pitch
  2. Be ready to laugh at all times
  3. Say, 'I told you so'
  4. Speak in a low, clear and sweet voice
Women were reminded never to reprimand their husbands or say 'I told you so,' despite provocation. It was simply not good manners to do so.
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58. How do you make sure your ankles are trim and shapely enough?

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  1. Massage them every night
  2. Put on ankle-slimming balm
  3. Tightly wrap them in gauze before you go to bed
  4. You can't. You're either born with them, or without them
Properly massaging your ankles was an essential part of any woman's beauty routine. How? Lie on the floor, with your feet on chair or stool. Draw one knee to the chest, grasp the ankle with both hands, and with a hard, twisting motion, massage the leg from ankle to knee.
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59. If you haven't got a good night's sleep, which of the following techniques will NOT help hide your tiredness?

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  1. Pin a bright flower pin to your suit
  2. Use a foundation a shade lighter than your normal skin color
  3. Brush your hair vigorously
  4. Wear bright red lipstick
To hide stress or tiredness, women were advised to use a darker or rosier makeup foundation that would help to cover their pallor, and create the illusion of health.
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60. In what order were clothes normally ironed?

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  1. High to low heat garments
  2. Darkest to lightest
  3. Low-heat to high-heat garments
  4. Underwear, shirts, pants then jackets
When ironing, it was best to do those which required lower heat first. Doing this minimized the chance of burning or scorching an item because the iron was too high.
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61. What is the equivalent of 1/2 lb. of American Cheddar Cheese?

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  1. 3 Tablespoons, grated
  2. 1 Teaspoon, grated
  3. 2 Cups, grated
  4. 10 Cups, grated
Any good housewife needed a good housekeeping chart, showing how to estimate what to buy for what you need, so as to prevent waste. It was common knowledge, for example, that 1/2 lb. of American Cheddar Cheese would equal roughly 2 cups of the cheese, when grated.
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62. Before polishing silverware, always:

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  1. Put on something black
  2. Run your nails over a wet cake of soap
  3. Wear perfume, to cover the smell of silver polish
  4. Put on a face mask, to prevent fume-inhalation
Before polishing silver, repotting plants, or cleaning the attic or cellar, running nails over a wet cake of soap was advised. Why? To prevent grime from settling around them, and protect the youth of a lady’s hands.
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63. What should you place on top of your coffee table to create a feeling of warmth and welcome?

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  1. Dirty dishes
  2. Books
  3. A bowl of fruit, proportional to the size of the table
  4. Stuffed animals
While a proper coffee table should always be set with an ornamental box, a book, and a serving plate, without a fruit bowl, the table would exude an air of incompleteness and the coldness of formality.
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64. If you're looking to prepare lunch in a pinch, which of the following is a good idea to add to your menu?

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  1. Croissants
  2. Beef Wellington
  3. Jellied cucumber rings
  4. Whole-roasted duck
Jellied cucumber rings... of course! Considered a lunch or tea delicacy, jellied cucumber rings were thought to be relatively quick-fixes (requiring only 20 minutes of preparation time, plus cooling). An added bonus? The recipe calls only for such household staples as gelatin, lemon juice, vinegar, cucumbers, sugar, and tomatoes.
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65. Which of the following ingredients would have ruined a trifle?

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  1. Licorice
  2. Sherry
  3. Vanilla Pudding Powder
  4. Sponge Layers
Described as a 'gala desert' when well made, the Trifle was a staple repertoire of any good housewife. Made with alternating layers of fruit, sponge fingers, sherry, and custard, this heavy desert would definitely not have gotten along with licorice.
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66. For a successful at-home perm, a woman should do all of the following BUT:

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  1. Arrange for quiet and privacy
  2. Set an alarm clock to check a test curl
  3. Wind hair tightly
  4. Start with the nape of the neck
When perming at home, winding hair too tightly, or letting curlers hang at a slant often caused hair breakage.
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67. How much of a tuck-under is ideal for your sheets?

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  1. 6 inches
  2. 2 inches
  3. 14 inches
  4. 1/2 inch
Common knowledge used to dictate that sheets should be 'wide enough' allow for a 6-inch tuck-under on each side of the bed, making the minimum width for a narrow, single twin sheet 63 inches.
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68. What is the best way to wax your linoleum flooring?

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  1. Honey
  2. Hot water
  3. Never wax linoleum!
  4. Self-polishing wax
Have fond memories of linoleum flooring? Cleaning it was no easy process. Self-polishing wax was thought to be easy to apply, and when soiled could be removed quickly with a mop wrung out of warm, sudsy water. Be sure the floor is clean before applying the wax. Remember to let the wax dry for at least 20 minutes.
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69. How did you avoid getting makeup on your clothes when taking them on and off?

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  1. Gently place you head over the sink
  2. Tie a large handkerchief over your face before dressing or undressing
  3. Be careful
  4. Don't wear makeup
Cake makeup and liquid foundations often stained clothes with tight necklines. Because a proper housewife never wanted to go without makeup, she was advised to cover her face with a handkerchief while putting on or taking off clothing, thereby avoiding difficult-to-remove stains.
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70. Which of these tests is done when making a jelly?

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  1. Crispy test
  2. Milk test
  3. Slap Test
  4. Sheet test
The jelly sheet test is a method of testing whether your jelly is ready or not. It involves dipping a spoon into the still cooking jelly and watching how it runs off the utensil, back into the pot.
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