Baking Powder Wars

Baking Powder Wars : The Cutthroat Food Fight that Revolutionized Cooking

4.04 (22 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

First patented in 1856, baking powder sparked a classic American struggle for business supremacy. For nearly a century, brands battled to win loyal consumers for the new leavening miracle, transforming American commerce and advertising even as they touched off a chemical revolution in the world's kitchens. Linda Civitello chronicles the titanic struggle that reshaped America's diet and rewrote its recipes. Presidents and robber barons, bare-knuckle litigation and bold-faced bribery, competing formulas and ruthless pricing--Civitello shows how hundreds of companies sought market control, focusing on the big four of Rumford, Calumet, Clabber Girl, and the once-popular brand Royal. She also tells the war's untold stories, from Royal's claims that its competitors sold poison, to the Ku Klux Klan's campaign against Clabber Girl and its German Catholic owners. Exhaustively researched and rich with detail, Baking Powder Wars is the forgotten story of how a dawning industry raised Cain--and cakes, cookies, muffins, pancakes, donuts, and biscuits.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 22.86mm | 498.95g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252041089
  • 9780252041082

About Linda Civitello

Linda Civitello teaches food history in southern California. She is the author of Cuisine and Culture: A History of Food and People, winner of the Gourmand Award for Best Food History Book in the World in English (U.S.).show more

Review quote

"Linda Civitello has mined her subject thoroughly and documented how it changed American baking to satisfy our hurry-up attitude toward life and food in general, as we embraced a quick and easy solution to the tiresome problem of supplying the family table. Along the way, Civitello records in detail the fundamental history of a business that is almost uniquely American--the baking powder business. Who knew that baking powder could be such a rich resource?"--Nancy Harmon "[A] meticulously researched history."--Orlando Weekly "It's just an innocuous white powder in a can at the back of the closet. Or is it? Linda Civitello's history shows how baking powder precipitated vicious competition in big business, raised concerns about chemical adulterants in food, and transformed home cooking. Without baking powder, there would be no fluffy cakes and pancakes, no biscuits, no muffins, and no cookies, in short, no American cuisine as we know it."--Rachel Laudan, author of Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History "With Baking Powder Wars, Linda Civitello takes her readers on an interesting and learned journey about a little-known subject: The history of leavening agents. I'm grateful for this detailed backstory on what makes bread rise to the occasion."--Adrian Miller, author of the James Beard Award-winning book Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time "A thrilling tale of food business, especially the wonderful chapter seven, about the shenanigans of corrupt businessmen and politicians."--Bruce Kraig, coeditor of The Chicago Food Encyclopedia "Food historian Civitello tells a complicated and sordid tale of corporate mischief that will surprise many readers."--Booklistshow more

Rating details

22 ratings
4.04 out of 5 stars
5 27% (6)
4 50% (11)
3 23% (5)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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