It had to happen. And it did. A trivia game for foodies. "Gourmet Challenge" it's called, the Trivial Pursuit for those don't care how long Aquaman can stay out of the water.
So, food buffs, let's play. It's me against you. But before we start, the rules and some background information:
The game is the brainchild of Canadian Cheryl Neilson, a 33-year-old former fashion buyer, Xerox Co. marketing manager, and self-described "gourmand" who got the idea one night while planning a dinner party. (Question: What did Gourmet Challenge inventor Cheryl Neilson serve at the dinner party that inspired the game? Answer: A mishmash. Fettucine alfredo, consomme', raspberry sorbet, roast turkey and apple pie.)
Neilson spent about five months researching for questions, using such sources as Larousse, Escoffier and Emily Post, as well as her own pet peeves and cooking experiences. (When you leave the table, what should be placed under the table? Answer: The chair. "It annoys me to no end that people don't do it," says Neilson.)
The objective of Gourmet Challenge, which is played essentially like Trivial Pursuit, is to make a cake containing layers of five colors, each corresponding to a category. You begin in "the kitchen," then move your token around the board, answering questions about either Histories & Nationalities, Etiquette & Customs, Gourmets Delight, Wines & Beverages, or Ingredients & Preparations. The winner is the first player to make a cake, end up in a "kitchen" square and answer a question in a category of the opponents' choosing.
For our purposes, however, the game will obviously have to be modified. It will be much simpler, but should give you an idea of the types of questions asked. It's best out of 10; whichever one of us answers the most questions correctly wins.
Get out a pad and pencil, numbering your paper on the left column from 1 to 20; you answer the odd-number questions, I'll answer the even. The correct answers to your questions will be on page F11, where you can tally your score and determine the winner.
Also, since I am here with the game and you are there with the newspaper, I'll roll the dice for both you and me and move your token.
One more thing. I call the red cake base for my token. You all are the green. Good luck!
You go first. You roll a two. Move two spaces and land on Gourmets Delight. Here's your question:
(1) One cup of heavy or whipping cream will yield how many cups of whipped cream?
Now, don't forget to record your answers.
Okay, my turn. Three. Move to Etiquette and Customs.
(2) If one sops bread in gravy, should one use a knife and fork (or the fingers) to eat it?
I can't imagine using anything but my fingers, but the correct answer must be knife and fork. It is.
Your turn. Six. Etiquette and Customs again.
(3) If you are meeting someone for the first time, you normally do not get down to "brass tacks" until you are how far through the business lunch?
My turn. Rolled a one. Wines & Beverages.
(4) The vineyards of Champagne were founded by what date A.D.?
I have no idea. 1400 A.D.? Nope. 350 A.D.
Some of these questions are a bit obscure. How about this one: How many loaves of chestnut bread were typical for 30 guests in the court of Henry VIII? Or, this one: "Selling like hotcakes" indicates a brisk sale. How brisk was the sale of American hotcakes in 1978? The answer is "over 63 million." Who counted?
Anyway, your turn. Five. Ingredients & Preparations.
(5) If an extra egg white is added for every 2 in a souffle', what does it accomplish?
My turn: Three. Histories & Nationalities.
(6) During the Middle Ages, in what kind of establishment was the first beer brewed?
Your turn. One. Histories & Nationalities.
(7) In what country did the ladies used to wear carrot foilage as a decoration, in the court of King Charles I?
The tipoff is King Charles I, not the carrots.
My turn. Five. Wines & Beverages.
(8) What do Icelandic men take great pride in finishing when they party?
I'd say the bottle, although I've known some men around here who feel the same way. It's the bottle.
Your turn. Six. Ingredients & Preparations.
(9) Name the state when a cake batter assumes a continuous flat ribbon when dropped from a spoon.
Hint: The answer is not "ready."
And, it's not Texas either. Texas is, however, one of the six states where Gourmet Challenge is thus far being sold. At Ira's College Station in College Station, no less.
With her background in marketing and sales, Neilson is distributing the game herself, targeting specialty food shops as her market. She went personally to Ira's College Station, a specialty shop near Texas A & M University, because she felt the store's "fine wines, tremendous art and sculpture" made it "the right place" to sell the game.
She just started selling Gourmet Challenge at the end of November, but plans on hitting the Washington market after the first of the year. In the meantime, she has taken out a full-page ad in Cook's Magazine that pictures her in a low-cut evening gown holding a champagne glass next to the board game. Neilson says the ad has elicited over 500 letters of inquiry.
My turn. Four. Ingredients & Preparations.
(10) What appliance is used for both chopping and pure'eing?
Easy. Food processor. I'm wrong. The answer is blender. No fair.
This must be one of those questions that Neilson admits have two or more answers. Food is frequently a subjective topic, she says, and the fact that there may be more or different answers to some of her 5,000 questions is what makes the game fun. "There's always room for argument," Neilson says.
She even got into one while playing the game. The answer to What are the ingredients of boiled icing? is based on her mother's recipe; a friend who got the question insisted that Neilson's answer was wrong. "No, no, no that's not how you make boiled icing," she told Neilson.
There's another question that Neilson especially likes that she knows has three answers: If the wedding has been canceled at the last minute, how do you inform your unsuspecting guests? The answer on the card is "by mail" but "if anyone has a major argument about it, call me and I'll give them all three answers," says Neilson. (To save you the phone call, "greet them at the church door" and "call" are the other two.)
Next question, your turn. Move two spaces to Wines & Beverages.
(11) What is the main ingredient in a champagne cocktail?
(Hint: It's the same logic as the answer to What Indian tribe is Kickapoo Joy Juice named after?)
Me again. Rolled a three. Gourmets Delight.
(12) What are tapas?
Answer: Spanish hors d'oeuvres. They have them at El Bodegon restaurant on 17th and R Sts. Good stuff.
Your turn. Two. Move to Ingredients & Preparations.
(13) What is the English equivalent to the word cassis?
My roll. One. Moving to Etiquette & Customs.
(14) In Malta, is it correct to eat bones with the fingers?
It is at my house, it must be in Malta. It is.
You go. Rolled a five. Etiquette & Customs again.
(15) Moroccan meals traditionally begin and end with -----?
Hint: If you've been to Marrakesh restaurant, think of what the waiter brought to the table after you sat down . . .
Me again. Rolled a six and landed on Wines & Beverages.
(16) Have a drink to drown your sorrow because you must go to the kitchen and roll again.
This must be what Neilson describes as one of the 10 "surprise" questions in the cards. This is one way in which the game differs from Trivial Pursuit, she says; there are a few others. In any event, she says, you can't copyright the concept of a game and the creators of Trivial Pursuit are well aware of Gourmet Challenge. In fact, according to Neilson, they have offered that if she should become financially encumbered by the game or couldn't handle sales and promotion, they would be "interested" in talking to her about it.
Neilson figures that the trivia trend should last for another two years; '85 and '86 will be our "hottest period," she estimates. She's even thinking of a family version of the game. (She'd better hurry up; according to Nation's Restaurant News, Milton Bradley has just rolled out the "Where's the Beef? Fast Food Card Game" and "Where's the Beef? Fast Food Race Game.")
Anyway, I'll roll again. Four. Etiquette & Customs.
(16, again) During Ascension in Co te-d'Or, dancers have what smeared on their faces?
Pancake makeup? Nope. The answer is cream cheese. Cream cheese?
Your turn. Move five spaces. Ingredients & Preparations.
(17) If you inflated your bird with air between the skin and flesh, and then scalded it with boiling water, what famous dish would be in preparation?
Me again. On to Gourmet Delight with a move of two.
(18) A beef roast wrapped and cooked in a pastry shell is called ---.
Answer: Beef wellington. Right.
Last question for you. Move one to Gourmets Delight.
(19) What was the original milk used in making mozzarella cheese?
Speaking of cheese, Cheryl Neilson said that last week she ordered "goat cheese in emerald sauce" when she went to a restaurant. She wouldn't have done that a year ago, she says, but since researching for the game, food "has a new meaning."
According to an information sheet from Neilson's company, a "gourmet" is a person from 35 to 45 who earns between $46,000 and $56,000 annually, tries new recipes from two to five times per month, more than likely owns at least one house, and tends to buy wine, beer and liquor selectively by brand name.
According to the ad in Cooks Magazine, the game "provides an exciting test for those who think themselves 'in the know,' " and according to the information sheet, is geared for those who either consider themselves "a gourmet, a lover of fine foods and drink," someone "who has a good general knowledge," or "better yet, you just like to eat, drink and play well." Which is Neilson?
Last question for me. Five spaces to Histories & Nationalities.
20) What accounts for about two-thirds of Sri Lanka's (Ceylon's) exports?
Must be tea. It is.
And now, the results. My score: Seven right out of 10. For the answers to your questions, remember, turn to page E11.
It's been fun. Just don't beat me. I'm a sore loser.
Gourmet Challenge is not yet available in Washington. It can be purchased by sending $34.95 plus $4 postage to Carievale Productions Ltd., 491 Eglinton Ave. W. No. 307. Toronto, Ont. M5N 1A8. Telephone: (416) 482-7700.