TOEFL Listening Lecture Practice Test 7

TOEFL Listening Lecture Practice Test 7

 

 

Directions: Now answer the questions.

1. What is the main purpose of the lecture?
A.  To describe the trade in food crops between Europe and the Americas
B.  To describe the introduction of American food crops to Europeans
C.  To describe the influence of American food crops on traditional European dishes
D.  To describe the difficulties of growing American food crops in European climates

2. What does the professor imply about certain plants in the nightshade family?
A.  They grow best In Mediterranean climates.
B.  Their leaves are high in nutritional value.
C.  They were mistakenly believed to be related to potatoes.
D.  They are dangerous when eaten by human beings.

3. What does the professor imply about Thomas Jefferson’s attitude toward tomatoes?
A.  It was typical of his unconventional way of thinking.
B.  It helped to advance his political career.
C.  It changed the eating habits of North Americans.
D.  It helped to make tomatoes popular in Europe.

4. According to the professor, what was the long-term effect of the introduction of American corn and potatoes to Europe?
A.  It had a negative effect on the nutritional intake of people living near the Mediterranean Sea.
B.  It contributed to a shift in the balance of power from southern Europe to northern Europe.
C.  It encouraged the development of new types of cuisine in southern Europe.
D.  It led to the failure of many native European grain crops.

5. According to the professor, what is one of the reasons why potatoes became popular in Ireland?
A.  Potatoes were more nourishing than native Irish food crops.
B.  Potatoes grew better at higher altitudes than native Irish crops.
C.  Political leaders in Ireland encouraged the cultivation of potatoes.
D.  People in Ireland were not aware that potatoes are members of the nightshade family.

6. Listen to Track 

A.  She expects the student to provide an answer to her question.
B.  She is surprised by the student’s question.
C.  She thinks that she knows what the student was going to ask.
D.  She expects other students in the class to express their opinions.

 

 

ANSWERS: 

1   B

2.  D

3.  A

4.  B

5.  A

6.  C

 

TRANSCRIPT

Narrator
Listen to part of a lecture in a European history class.

Professor
So would it surprise you to learn that many of the foods that we—uh, today—consider traditional European dishes—that their key ingredients were not even known In Europe until quite recently—until the Europeans started trading with the native peoples of North and South America? I mean, you’re probably aware that the Americas provided Europe—uh, and Asia—with foods like squash … beans … turkey … peanuts … But what about all those Italian tomato sauces, Hungarian goulash or—my favorite—French fries—those yummy fried potatoes?

Male student
Wait—I mean, I knew potatoes were from—where, South America—?

Professor
South America, right—the Andes Mountains.

Male student
But you’re saying … tomatoes too? I just assumed, since they’re used in so many Italiandishes.

Professor
No, like potatoes, tomatoes grew wild in the Andes—although unlike potatoes, theyweren’t originally cultivated there; that seems to have occurred first in Central AmericaAnd even then the tomato doesn’t appear to have been very important as a food plantuntil the Europeans came on the scene. They took it back to Europe with them around1550, and Italy was indeed the first place where it was widely grown as a food crop. So, ina sense, it really is more Italian than American. And another thing—and this Is true of boththe potato and the tomato—both of these plants are members of the nightshade family.

The nightshade family is a category of plants which also includes many that you wouldn’t want to eat … like oh, uh, mandrake, belladonna, and, uh … and even tobacco! So it’s no wonder that people once considered tomatoes and potatoes to be inedible too, even poisonous—and, in fact, the leaves of the potato plant are quite toxic. So it took both plants quite a while to catch on in Europe, and even longer before they made the return trip to North America and became popular food items here.

Female student
Yeah, you know. I remember… I-I remember my grandmother telling me that when her mother was a little girl, a lot of people still thought that tomatoes were poisonous.
Professor
Oh, sure—people didn’t really start eating them here until the mid-1800s.

Female student
But, ah—seems like I heard … didn’t Thomas Jefferson grow them or something?

Professor
Ah! Well, that’s true… but, then, Jefferson is known not only as the third President of the United States, but also as a scholar who was way ahead of his time—in many ways! He didn’t let the conventional thinking of his day restrain his ideas.

Now, potatoes went through a similar sort of, ah—of a rejection process, especially when they were first introduced in Europe—you know how potatoes can turn green if they’re left in the light too long? And that greenish skin can make the potato taste bitter—even make you ill. So that was enough to put people off for over 200 years! Yes, Bill?

Male student
I-I’m sorry, Professor Jones, but—I mean, yeah, OK, American crops’ve probably contributed a lot to European cooking over the years, but,..

Professor
But have they really played any kind of important role in European history? Well, as a mat-ter of fact, yes. I was just coming to that. Let’s, uh—let’s start with North American corn, or maize, as it’s often called. Now, before the Europeans made contact with the Americas, they subsisted mainly on grains—grains that often suffered from crop failures—and It’s argely for this reason that political power in Europe was centered for centuries in the south—around the Mediterranean Sea, which was where they could grow these grains with more reliability. But when corn came to Europe from Mexico … well, now they had a much heartier crop that could be grown easily in more northerly climates, and the centers  of power began to shift accordingly.

And then—well, as I said, potatoes weren’t really popular at first, but when they finally did catch on—which they did first in Ireland, around 1780—well, why do you suppose It happened? Because potatoes had the ability to provide an abundant and extremely nutritious food crop—no other crop grown in northern Europe at the time had anything
like the number of vitamins contained in potatoes. Plus, potatoes grown on a single acre of land could feed many more people than say, uh, wheat grown on that same land.

Potatoes soon spread to France and other northern European countries, and as a result, the nutrition of the general population improved tremendously, and populations soared in the early1800s. And so the shift of power from southern to northern Europe continued

Narrator
Listen again to part of the lecture. Then answer the question.
Male student
I-I’m sorry, Professor Jones, but—I mean, yeah, OK, American crops’ve probably contributed a lot to European cooking over the years, but…
Professor
But have they really played any kind of important role in European history? Well, as a matter of fact, yes, I was Just coming to that.
Narrator
What can be inferred about the professor when she says this:
Professor
But have they really played any kind of important role in European history?

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