ISEE Middle Level Reading : Textual Relationships in Contemporary Life Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ISEE Middle Level Reading

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Example Question #21 : Textual Relationships In Contemporary Life Passages

Adapted from "Errors in Our Food Economy" in Scientific American Supplement No. 1082 Vol. XLII (September 26th, 1896)

Scientific research, interpreting the observations of practical life, implies that several errors are common in the use of food.

First, many people purchase needlessly expensive kinds of food, doing this under the false impression that there is some peculiar virtue in the costlier materials, and that economy in our diet is somehow detrimental to our dignity or our welfare. And, unfortunately, those who are most extravagant in this respect are often the ones who can least afford it.

Secondly, the food which we eat does not always contain the proper proportions of the different kinds of nutritive ingredients. We consume relatively too much of the fuel ingredients of food, such as the fats of meat and butter, and the starch which makes up the larger part of the nutritive material of flour, potatoes, sugar, and sweetmeats. Conversely, we have relatively too little of the protein of flesh-forming substances, like the lean of meat and fish and the gluten of wheat, which make muscle and sinew and which are the basis of blood, bone and brain.

Thirdly, many people, not only the well-to-do, but those in moderate circumstances, use needless quantities of food. Part of the excess, however, is simply thrown away with the wastes of the table and the kitchen; so that the injury to health, great as it may be, is doubtless much less than if all were eaten. Probably the worst sufferers from this evil are well-to-do people of sedentary occupations.

Finally, we are guilty of serious errors in our cooking. We waste a great deal of fuel in the preparation of our food, and even then a great deal of the food is very badly cooked. A reform in these methods of cooking is one of the economic demands of our time.

Which of these factors does the author believe is most relevant to why the excessive preparation of food is less injurious to our health than the other mistakes and fallacies he discusses?

Possible Answers:

All of these answers are given equal credibility by the author.

The consumption of excess food on one occasion allows us to consume less food at a later date.

Much of the excess, instead of being eaten, is simply thrown away.

The preparation of excess food encourages social gathering and bonding.

The excess food can be saved and eaten at a later date.

Correct answer:

Much of the excess, instead of being eaten, is simply thrown away.

Explanation:

When discussing the excessive preparation of food, the author says, “Part of the excess, however, is simply thrown away with the wastes of the table and the kitchen, so that the injury to health, great as it may be, is doubtless much less than if all were eaten.” This is the only example he gives for which he provides a mitigating factor, so we know that he believes this particular mistake is less injurious to our health than others which he discusses. The reason he gives is that, rather than consuming this excess food, we generally just throw it away. No doubt he still believes this to be a problem, but the harm it does to individuals is reduced by the fact that so much of it is not eaten.

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