Quiz: Match ingredients with processed foods.

What to eat. What not to eat.
June 29 2011 6:45 AM

Is That Cat Chow or Chicken Fried Rice?

Take Slate's ingredients quiz.

Consider the cheese curl, or the microwavable dinner, or beef jerky. These foods are not just tasty: They are scientifically optimized to be shelf-stable, perfectly consistent in taste from serving to serving, filling, addictive, savory, and cheap. Achieving all those goals requires more than a handful of pantry items—it requires state-of-the art production techniques and a serious helping of laboratory chemicals. So while most of us could identify our favorite homemade dishes from ingredients alone (olives, garlic, capers, linguine … sounds like puttanesca!), we would be hopelessly lost trying to recognize our favorite snacks.

Nevertheless, Slate challenges you to do just that. We give you a list of ingredients; you select the correct grocery-store foodstuff from a lineup. (If you're right, your guess will turn green and you'll be able to move on to the next set of ingredients; otherwise, it will turn red. Keep trying until you get it right.) At the end of the quiz, you can compare your results with those of other Slate readers.

Annie Lowrey, formerly Slate’s Moneybox columnist, is economic policy reporter for the New York Times.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer. Email him at will.oremus@slate.com or follow him on Twitter.