Question: I have inherited some canned salmon that was caught and preserved in 1972 and 1973. The cans appear to be in good condition. Is this salmon still good?
Answer: It's recommended that canned foods be used within one to two years of purchase or preserving. After that length of time, the food begins to lose quality, even if it is still safe to consume. If the salmon is indeed as old as you state, we believe the old adage "when it doubt, throw it out" should be observed. In our opinion, it would not be worth the risk to consume this product.
Q: I have an old recipe that calls for a No. 303 size can of vegetables. How does this translate to ounces?
A: In the past, cans were often designated by a name or number. Here is a list of the most common and the approximate net weight, yield in cups and number of servings for each:
Picnic--10 1/2 to 12 ounces, 1 1/4 cups, 2 to 3 servings
No. 300--14 to 16 ounces, 1 3/4 cups, 3 to 4 servings
No. 303--16 to 17 ounces, 2 cups, 4 servings
No. 2--1 pound, 4 ounces or 1 pint, 2 fluid ounces; 2 1/2 cups, 5 servings
No. 2 1/2--1 pound, 13 ounces; 3 1/2 cups, 7 servings
No. 3--3 pounds, 3 ounces or 46 fluid ounces or 1 quart, 14 fluid ounces; 5 3/4 cups, 10 to 12 servings
No. 10--6 1/2 to 7 1/4 pounds, 12 to 13 cups, 25 servings
Q: I wanted to prepare that old-fashioned dessert recipe with the chocolate wafers and whipping cream, but I couldn't locate the wafers. Are they still available? And if so, where?
A: Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers are still widely available, but some supermarkets stock them with the ice cream toppings rather than the cookies. The manufacturer tells us they may be found at Alpha Beta Co., Gelson's Markets, Lucky Stores Inc., The Pantry Inc., Stater Bros. Inc. and Vons Grocery Co. stores.
Q: Please tell me why my cheesecake cracks before I loosen and remove it from the pan.
A: We couldn't find a scientific explanation of why cheesecakes crack, but in "Cheesecakes--Sweet and Savory," (HP Books: 1985) author Barbara Maher states: "Baked cheesecakes have a tendency to crack as they bake. These cracks may almost disappear as the cheesecake deflates and cools. This does not affect the texture or flavor. It is simply a characteristic of some baked cheesecakes."
Q: I have several recipes calling for self-rising cornmeal. It doesn't seem to be available in the Southland, and I'm wondering whether the same formula used for substituting regular for self-rising flour will work: one cup flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and one-half teaspoon salt. Can you help?
A: Your guesstimate is close. According to a spokesperson at Quaker Oats, manufacturers of Aunt Jemima self-rising white enriched cornmeal, the substitution formula for 1 cup of their self-rising cornmeal would be: 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Aunt Jemima self-rising cornmeal also contains fat, so in addition to the above ingredients, 2 tablespoons fat must be added for each cup of the self-rising cornmeal mixture used in a recipe.
Address questions on food preparation to You Asked About ..., Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053. Personal replies cannot be given.