Baking Powder Wars
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.

Baking Powder Wars Details

TitleBaking Powder Wars
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseMay 22nd, 2017
PublisherUniversity of Illinois Press
ISBN0252041089
ISBN-139780252041082
Number of pages264 pages
Rating
GenreNonfiction, History, Food and Drink, Food, Microhistory

Baking Powder Wars Review

  • Rane
    May 3, 2017
    I find history truly fascinating, from the changes we can read and see in people, culture, places. One thing that connects us more is none other then food. Food history is just as rich as it showcases the culture impact every day food such as Baking Powder had on us,that today we take for granted. Linda Covitello packs in so much history from the 19th century to today in how Baking Power changed the way we cook and in some cases changed the world. Covitello just doesn't talk about baking power I find history truly fascinating, from the changes we can read and see in people, culture, places. One thing that connects us more is none other then food. Food history is just as rich as it showcases the culture impact every day food such as Baking Powder had on us,that today we take for granted. Linda Covitello packs in so much history from the 19th century to today in how Baking Power changed the way we cook and in some cases changed the world. Covitello just doesn't talk about baking power, but takes the reader along as you see how women, homemakers,bakers and later inventors used to cook before baking powder with old recipes, dairy entries and digging deep into our history from America to Britain and all over. While I truly enjoyed the history, at times I felt that Covitello put a little to much info, making the reading at times a bit slower or something we had to slog through to get at the meat of the matter. This was a double edge sword though. One had to understand this to understand how it effect that. While this balancing act was troublesome, it didn't take away to much from the book overall. For those who love history to cooking, this is a fun book to dig into and learn how something as simple as baking powder changed the world around us.
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  • Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
    April 23, 2017
    As I've found out recently (re: The Radium Girls), non-fiction can be written with as much passion as any fictional story. But this one... wasn't. So I'm giving it a short review - 2.5 stars. Pros/cons:+ There was a lot of interesting history facts that were completely new to me (how bread was made at home, how breakmaking shifted from the household to the factory, what baking powders are made from, even!)+ I was introduced to some very interesting old recipes, and how baking was even understood As I've found out recently (re: The Radium Girls), non-fiction can be written with as much passion as any fictional story. But this one... wasn't. So I'm giving it a short review - 2.5 stars. Pros/cons:+ There was a lot of interesting history facts that were completely new to me (how bread was made at home, how breakmaking shifted from the household to the factory, what baking powders are made from, even!)+ I was introduced to some very interesting old recipes, and how baking was even understood at that time. I'm a sucker for detail like that!+ Loaaaads of mouth watering due to reading about cookies, breads, cakes and other wonders of the world.However...- The voice is just so boring. At times I felt like I was back in my school desk, reading my homework.- The part about social history or recipes is absolutely fine, but there was also a lot of corporate or even court history. No thanks. Super yawn.- There was a general lack of direction of what they're telling..? Why does the book end with race cars? I don't care that it was the same company that made baking powder big. I don't care about race cars when I'm reading about cookies, man :DUltimately, I can compare this book with wading in deep mud looking for lost pirate doubloons. When you find them, it's all pretty great, but you don't find them often enough, and the mud does slow you down quite a bit. I definitely found quite a few nuggets. But wading through that mud was pretty dull.
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  • Kathleen
    April 2, 2017
    I think that Linda Civitello must have dreams about biscuits and baking powder. Wow. What an incredible amount of research she has done for this book. Baking Powder Wars was published by the University of Illinois Press. In my experience, books published by a university press can be a bit dry and more academic than a casual reader is looking for. This book starts out that way, as the first few chapters set up the cooking rituals of pre-baking-powder America, its not inaccessible but it's pretty I think that Linda Civitello must have dreams about biscuits and baking powder. Wow. What an incredible amount of research she has done for this book. Baking Powder Wars was published by the University of Illinois Press. In my experience, books published by a university press can be a bit dry and more academic than a casual reader is looking for. This book starts out that way, as the first few chapters set up the cooking rituals of pre-baking-powder America, its not inaccessible but it's pretty research-dense. However, stick with it. Its important to set the scene for the leavening options before the baking powder to set the scene for war war! war!! My jaw dropped at one point as I read, mouth agape, about the drastic measures some of the baking powder companies took to try and dominate the market. Or should I say, "flatten" their competition? (No, I shouldn't say that. Too easy.) The research is impressive and the tactics described are astounding. I had no idea baking powder was such big business. The more I read, the more I enjoyed it, and I appreciate the amount of information the author shares about the families that were behind many of the big companies at war with one another in the 19th & 20th century. They started off small and built an empire that went beyond the single product.Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an advance copy for review.
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  • Nathan
    April 4, 2017
    Fantasy Review BarnA bit out of place on this humble blog as unless I missed something there were no dragons involved in this non-fiction book about the history of baking powder. Nor did any of the major companies involved prone to hiring any type of magical assistance. So feel free to skip this review if the riveting battle between companies trying to sell flavorless white powder does nothing for you.The Baking Powder War caught my eye because I am fascinated by the history of marketing and the Fantasy Review BarnA bit out of place on this humble blog as unless I missed something there were no dragons involved in this non-fiction book about the history of baking powder. Nor did any of the major companies involved prone to hiring any type of magical assistance. So feel free to skip this review if the riveting battle between companies trying to sell flavorless white powder does nothing for you.The Baking Powder War caught my eye because I am fascinated by the history of marketing and the blurb promised plenty of this. I was not disappointed on this front but I also got so much more than I expected. This was not a minor marketing battle between rival companies; the 'war' statement in the title of the book was in no way hyperbole. It can also not be overstated just how important the creation and distribution of this product was both in its time and leading up to today.For those that don't cook baking powder is a product that leavens bread. Almost any bread product bought today (outside of artisan loafs) as well as most cakes, cookies, etc contain this product. If you put it in an oven and it gets bigger, or if it is soft and fluffy, you know it has baking powder. If it can be cooked in less than an hour the same statement holds true.Starting with the introduction of bread making in colonial America the author takes her time showing just how important bread making was in the time period; setting up just how revolutionary this simple product ended up being. From there the focus slowly shifts down two paths; how the product was changing society and what four major companies were doing to ensure they profited the most off it. Both of these aspects were fascinating.On the societal change front it is almost shocking how much impact this simple product has. Bread making went from something that went on all day (and took constant prep to ensure the baker had yeast at hand as a dried version is years away still) to something that could be done on more of a whim. This leavening was so important that the first patent issued in America dealt with a baking powder predecessor. Many diverse aspects were looked into, often briefly. The rise of the tin industry (baking pans were suddenly needed for breads that didn't stay self contained), the start of chemical additives to food (baking powder is convenient but it adds neither flavor nor nutritional value) and eventually the rise of chain grocers.But the majority of the book focused on the cut throat war the various companies engaged in during a time with less ease of consumer information. Wholesale bribery of state legislature type of warfare; these companies were robber barons every bit as crafty as any steel tycoon. Early marketing was as horrifying as it is fascinating; one ad basically told women that a can of baking powder saved so much time it was like owning a slave!I don't review non-fiction much and this certainly isn't an academic journal. Unlike fiction reviews I don't see any need to discuss pacing or narrative style. I found The Baking Powder War to be easy to read and completely fascinating. I was expecting more on marketing and was slightly disappointed that it only came up sporadically but I got so much more than I realized from this book.Recommended for those interesting in marketing, American history, and the quality of their food.4 Stars
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  • Beth Cato
    April 25, 2017
    I received an early copy of this book via Netgalley.I have a deep interest in 19th century history. It provides the background for several of my novels. I'm also a food blogger and all-around foodie. I am endlessly fascinated by the role of food in book world-building and in our own history.Therefore Baking Powder Wars is perfect for me. At times, it's confusing because of the sheer number of names, but it never ceases to be interesting. The book begins with a discussion of leavening ingredients I received an early copy of this book via Netgalley.I have a deep interest in 19th century history. It provides the background for several of my novels. I'm also a food blogger and all-around foodie. I am endlessly fascinated by the role of food in book world-building and in our own history.Therefore Baking Powder Wars is perfect for me. At times, it's confusing because of the sheer number of names, but it never ceases to be interesting. The book begins with a discussion of leavening ingredients over time, starting with yeast and pearlash, and the development of different types of baking powder over the 19th century. The companies truly did wage a nasty political and commercial war for dominance, and two companies ultimately emerged victorious: Clabber Girl and Calumet. That's no spoiler, as I bet most folks have one or the other in their cabinet. (I was raised with Clabber Girl.)What really interested me, though, were the cultural ramifications of baking powder. It obviously freed women from the kitchen and the hours and days it might take to create yeast bread, but baking powder also became integrated in different cultures and regions of the United States, and gradually changed traditional recipes to become baking powder recipes. Southern-style biscuits are a prime example of this. As baking powder became a symbol of modernity and civilization, it also played a part in controlling Native Americans on reservations (baking powder and flour were allotted to them, and became part of the reservation food Indian fry bread, which didn't exist before then) and perpetuating racist stereotypes of blacks through the 1930s and onward.If you have any interest in food and history, seek out this book. I'll never look at my baking powder the same way again.
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  • Bonnye Reed
    May 19, 2017
    GNab I received a free electronic copy of his history from Netgalley, Linda Civitello, and University of Illinois Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all, for sharing your hard work with me. I am old, and I have always dearly loved to cook. I am so old that I remember when every country road we traveled had Clabber Girl ads painted on old barns. One of my main complaints when I was a new cook in the late '50's and early '60's was the lack of any sort of consistency in recipes that GNab I received a free electronic copy of his history from Netgalley, Linda Civitello, and University of Illinois Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all, for sharing your hard work with me. I am old, and I have always dearly loved to cook. I am so old that I remember when every country road we traveled had Clabber Girl ads painted on old barns. One of my main complaints when I was a new cook in the late '50's and early '60's was the lack of any sort of consistency in recipes that included a leavening of any sort. As you cook, over the years, you make up your own rules, as did the ladies and gentlemen who wrote the receipt books quoted in this fine history of baking powder and cutthroat advertising. And thanks to the baking powder wars our quick breads, cookies, muffins and biscuits are dependably great every time we make them. But I knew all that when I picked up this book.What I didn't know that would fill volumes is packed tightly into this very readable journey as Linda Civitello brings us through centuries of the evolution of cooking. Thank you for all the great effort obvious in this work, Ms. Civitello. I am full of facts and hungry for my lemon quick bread. And my Daddy's recipe for Bundt cake. And my daughter's Ranger cookies.
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  • Jill Croce-McGill
    March 2, 2017
    Let me start by saying that I have been in the culinary world for many years now - as a culinary student, professional baker, owner of an Italian restaurant and catering business. So when I had an opportunity to read Baking Powder Wars: The Cutthroat Food Fight that Revolutionized Cooking by Linda Civitello, I jumped at it!I know that baking powder may not be at the top of your reading list, and you are probably saying to yourself, "what could be so fascinating about baking powder?". Believe me, Let me start by saying that I have been in the culinary world for many years now - as a culinary student, professional baker, owner of an Italian restaurant and catering business. So when I had an opportunity to read Baking Powder Wars: The Cutthroat Food Fight that Revolutionized Cooking by Linda Civitello, I jumped at it!I know that baking powder may not be at the top of your reading list, and you are probably saying to yourself, "what could be so fascinating about baking powder?". Believe me, after reading this book you will definitely change your thoughts on that subject!Linda Civitello takes us on an in-depth journey of how hundreds of companies fought for market control, mainly talking on the 4 main companies we all know - Rumford, Calumet, Clabber Girl, and Royal. From the Publisher: 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. Baking Powder Wars: The Cutthroat Food Fight that Revolutionized Cooking is a well-researched, entertaining, and a beautifully written book that any baker, food historian or anyone in the culinary industry should read!I read this book from NetGalley for an honest review. Publication Date: June 15, 2017
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  • Julie Davis
    June 6, 2017
    Much more general history than I'd have thought winds around the baking powder history. Entertainingly written with a wealth of well researched information. It may have helped that I've baked for many years and so could empathize with bakers' struggles before baking powder. And I've also read lots of food history. But this is so well told that I think you don't have to be a baker to appreciate this book.
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  • Dawn Betts-Green (Dinosaur in the Library)
    April 29, 2017
    I got this as an e-arc from Netgalley for an honest review. I enjoyed it...I mean, I freaking LOVE microhistories, but it did drag a bit in some places. If you like microhistories or food history, you need to pick it up though. Who knew the baking powder biz was so cutthroat?
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  • Margie Gibson
    May 6, 2017
    If baking powder doesn't seem substantial enough to merit an entire book, that's only because its history and background have not been widely explored and remain generally unknown. Linda Civitello's carefully researched book has finally opened a window onto a fascinating subject and era in US history. The book is interdisciplinary in nature, shedding light on the science and chemistry behind baking powder, the international exchange of ideas and scientific knowledge that enabled the powder's dev If baking powder doesn't seem substantial enough to merit an entire book, that's only because its history and background have not been widely explored and remain generally unknown. Linda Civitello's carefully researched book has finally opened a window onto a fascinating subject and era in US history. The book is interdisciplinary in nature, shedding light on the science and chemistry behind baking powder, the international exchange of ideas and scientific knowledge that enabled the powder's development, the history of chemical leavening agents, politics and corruption, suspicion of foreigners (in this case, Germans), and insights into the role baking powder played in the economic history of the US, as well as marketing, feminism, and social issues. I found especially interesting the book's exploration of how baking powder revolutionized women's lives, freeing them from the necessity of spending long hours kneading and baking bread for their families. The popularity of baking powder in the US also explains how baking styles here developed differently from European baking--US cooks relied much more extensively on a chemical leavening action, while more traditional European cooks relied on beating bubbles into the batter and using eggs as a leavening. This difference created new American baked goods such as cookies, quick biscuits, cobblers, and light fluffy cakes.Baking Powder Wars provides fascinating insights into a unique American product--insights that will change the way you look at a marvelous invention that we have too long taken for granted.
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  • Robyn
    March 3, 2017
    NetGalley ARC | This was interesting, but hampered by a clunky style and some poor presentation of good research. | The story being told here is definitely worth the time Civitello took to research and write about it. I had read about previously about Pure Food fights in Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee—The Dark History of the Food Cheats, but this was focused on just baking powder, which is a draw all on its own. The further I read the more I enjoyed it, as the author seemed t NetGalley ARC | This was interesting, but hampered by a clunky style and some poor presentation of good research. | The story being told here is definitely worth the time Civitello took to research and write about it. I had read about previously about Pure Food fights in Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee—The Dark History of the Food Cheats, but this was focused on just baking powder, which is a draw all on its own. The further I read the more I enjoyed it, as the author seemed to settle into her voice as the book went on, but the beginning nearly lost me. The introduction felt like a clunky Master's thesis, continually using the "this document will show" style that is inappropriate for a mass-market book. It also seemed a bit unsure as to whether the purpose was a history of a product or a deeper look at American feminism as felt in the kitchen. Throughout the Introduction and Chapter 1, the transitions were abrupt, which made the book easy to put down, and then I came across a sloppily-presented fact. Civitello states that in "1840, New England women's literacy was at 100%". That particular number is always going to catch the eye. It seemed, frankly, unlikely. So I checked her citation, then found the book she got the fact from on Google books. It was a book written in 1977, and it stated, instead, that "virtually all" women in 1840 New England were literate, which is not the same as 100%. In turn, that book's citation for the fact, a 1974 book, used the phrase "almost all", again, not the same as 100%, and it turns out that the true literacy rate in New England in 1840 was between 91% and 97%. Look, I know this makes me sound like a pedant. I don't actually care what the literacy rate was in that area at that time, the point is that it's poor scholarship and it calls attention to itself with the unlikely number presented. That makes me less trusting of the author. Then I got to Chapter 2, where she stated that "in the nineteenth century...the United States didn't have a wine industry". Except that we did. The first commercial winery in California opened in 1857 after 3 centuries of monastic CA wine growing. Cream of tartar had been available in the US since before there was a US. That the baking powder executives of New England and the Midwest didn't think to source from the newly-settled and still wild and distant west coast is not the same as if the product did not exist. These are very small complaints in an interesting story. The problem is that these are just the things that jumped out at me, which makes me wonder what else was presented without exact accuracy that I didn't recognize. That said, I am glad I read the book, and I came to the end pleased about the brand of baking powder I have in my cupboard, so I clearly was drawn in by the events.
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  • Julie
    June 10, 2017
    If you bake, then you’ve probably used baking powder at some time or another. If you are a serious baker then the story behind baking powder is a fascinating one. I know, I know… I see the look you are giving me. But trust me, it really is.I wasn’t prepared for such a fascinating tale. I thought I’d get a dry, hard to swallow, I need some milk to wash this down type of book…but instead I was delighted by its layered goodness. The amount of research that went into this book is beyond comprehensio If you bake, then you’ve probably used baking powder at some time or another. If you are a serious baker then the story behind baking powder is a fascinating one. I know, I know… I see the look you are giving me. But trust me, it really is.I wasn’t prepared for such a fascinating tale. I thought I’d get a dry, hard to swallow, I need some milk to wash this down type of book…but instead I was delighted by its layered goodness. The amount of research that went into this book is beyond comprehension. Who would have thought that this little product could cause so much upheaval?What I enjoyed about it was all the historical aspects. Those nuggets of information sometimes blew my mind. The book explains how the simple muffin has changed since we use a leavening agent. It tackles the advertising industry and their feuds and dives deep into the history of bread making.I’m very interested in how the kitchen has changed throughout history. If you spend a considerable amount of time with mixing bowls and measuring cups then Baking Powder Wars should be right next to your cookbooks.
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  • Michelle
    June 13, 2017
    Baking powder has been such a staple in our modern lives that we might easily forget that there was a time without such a small luxury. Author Linda Civitello has obviously done the time and research when it came to writing this book. That being said I found it a bit difficult to dig through. I’ve noticed that when it comes to nonfiction books I still enjoy the narrative approach to the type that reads like a text or essay one might do at school. The sheer amount of research and information tha Baking powder has been such a staple in our modern lives that we might easily forget that there was a time without such a small luxury. Author Linda Civitello has obviously done the time and research when it came to writing this book. That being said I found it a bit difficult to dig through. I’ve noticed that when it comes to nonfiction books I still enjoy the narrative approach to the type that reads like a text or essay one might do at school. The sheer amount of research and information that Civitello was able to discover and bring to the forefront in this book is astounding. Yet it feels like in order to justify the amount of time and effort, she included everything she found, even some things that really didn’t make much sense to me. I was drawn to this book because I enjoy baking and it would recommend it for the same audience. I would simply make sure they were aware of the writing style and then let them dive in on their own. It is a good book all around, but in the end I found that it was simply not written in a way that I found incredibly enjoyable.*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and University of Illinois Press in exchange for honest feedback*
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  • Kimberly
    June 16, 2017
    This book is filled with the history of baking powder. I did not realize that there was such a war between different brands. This one little product changed the way that people around the world would bake fro 1856 to the present. Even though she focused on the top brands she did mention how there were over a hundred that were vying for the consumers' business. This unique history book was fascinating to me, a history buff. I wasn't sure what to expect but I found it interesting. I was given this This book is filled with the history of baking powder. I did not realize that there was such a war between different brands. This one little product changed the way that people around the world would bake fro 1856 to the present. Even though she focused on the top brands she did mention how there were over a hundred that were vying for the consumers' business. This unique history book was fascinating to me, a history buff. I wasn't sure what to expect but I found it interesting. I was given this book by NetGalley and University of Illinois Press in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Ilana
    May 10, 2017
    This book is an extraordinary example of well-reseached approach of food history. Either you consider the anthropological, economic and even culinary aspects of the history of baking powder, each layer is extraordinary reach. The author's merit is to offer a fantastic overview and in-depth analysis of an everyday topic. A recommended book to anyone interested in the history of mentalities and food historians.Disclaimer: Book offered by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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  • Charles
    May 12, 2017
    Overall, I enjoyed this book, and would recommend it. What I liked about the book:I love books about the history behind everyday things you take for granted (e.g. Salt and Cod). This is one such book, and the author does a very good job of in this extremely thorough book. A wide number of issues were looked at from some interesting vantage points, including native American, advertising, industrial espionage, chemistry, and legislative. All in all, a very thorough piece of work.What I didn't like Overall, I enjoyed this book, and would recommend it. What I liked about the book:I love books about the history behind everyday things you take for granted (e.g. Salt and Cod). This is one such book, and the author does a very good job of in this extremely thorough book. A wide number of issues were looked at from some interesting vantage points, including native American, advertising, industrial espionage, chemistry, and legislative. All in all, a very thorough piece of work.What I didn't like about the book:At the early stages of the book, the academic thesis is laid out pretty bluntly - gender studies is at the core of this title. Personally I am not a fan of this school, as I prefer less theoretical and more journalistic styles of work - particularly when it comes to history. But, as it is a boook through a Universty Press, it's inevitable that it's going to have an academic bent.What else? I thought perhaps more of the internationalisation of baking powder could have been brought in. Some examination of baking powder in Germany took place, but understanding more about the export of the kinds of baking powder to the UK etc would have been interesting. Additionally, I thought there were a few things that were not really mentioned or were glossed over - the role of commercial bakeries in early America (surely they existed!), the role of self-raising flour as a challenge to the baking powder industry, some broader history of bread. However, these could be more points for the general reader, as opposed to the academic reader.
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  • Nancy
    April 22, 2017
    Rumford, Calumet, Clabber Girl - I wonder what brand of baking powder resides in my cabinet. I've never stopped to consider the source, similarities or differences. It's a product that has always been a necessary ingredient for my baking. One I've given very little thought to.I'm not exactly sure what drew me to request an advanced copy of this book. Perhaps it was the publisher, University of Illinois Press. I grew up in Champaign/Urbana and attended the U of I. Or, maybe the link to Terra Haut Rumford, Calumet, Clabber Girl - I wonder what brand of baking powder resides in my cabinet. I've never stopped to consider the source, similarities or differences. It's a product that has always been a necessary ingredient for my baking. One I've given very little thought to.I'm not exactly sure what drew me to request an advanced copy of this book. Perhaps it was the publisher, University of Illinois Press. I grew up in Champaign/Urbana and attended the U of I. Or, maybe the link to Terra Haute, Indiana - the shopping mecca in my earliest memory when we lived in Casey, Illinois.I had a hard time getting through the first chapters which seemed very academic chronicling the history of grains, bread and leavening agents. A synopsis would have worked to set the stage for me. My interest picked up as we got into the chemistry involved in creating baking powder, patents, law suits, government corruption, marketing, turf wars, regional influences, corporate vs. family business. Civitello relates the complicated tale behind a product most use without forethought - the recipe calls for it, we use it.Baking Powder Wars will be especially interesting for food and marketing history buffs.Oh, when I checked my current can is Clabber Girl Double Acting Baking Powder out to Terra Haute, Indiana.
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  • Vanessa
    March 7, 2017
    Interesting deep dive into food history with just enough gloss and adventuring for the lay reader - it's always intriguing to have the curtain pulled back on a calm surface, very Emerald City. Ms. Civitello's writing style is accessible and obviously imbued with a love of the subject matter, she seems to be having a great time and it definitely comes through on the page.My thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Crystal King
    February 7, 2017
    Baking Powder Wars is a well-researched, highly accessible and overall fascinating book all about, well, you guessed it, baking powder. I had no idea of the history of this crucial baking product and I was blown away by how interesting that this book was. Rumford has been on my shelf for years and now I know a lot about how it got there. If you are a baker and you love food history, this is a must-have for your TBR pile.
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  • Cat
    January 17, 2017
    Lol! I've used Clabber Girl my whole life. My mother and grandmother also used Clabber Girl. I would never have guessed baking powder could be so cut-throat! I have to admit to having been stuck using Calumet, unhappily, on a couple desperate occasions, and not being happy with the results ( I don't want to start another war over it, however!). Bakers, foodies, social historians and just general readers will get a kick out of this book. It's worthy of a look and read.
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  • amanda eve
    April 22, 2017
    Did not finish. A very interesting deep-dive into the history of cooking and gender politics. I'll probably come back to this at some point.
  • 3 no 7
    April 19, 2017
    “Baking Powder Wars” by Linda Civitello should be on the “must read” list of every foodie. I am not a “foodie” but since I know some, I was intrigued by the title. I had no idea that baking powder played such an important, even pivotal, role in what we eat, cook, and do. This book is not about an obscure little business competition between baking powder companies; it outlines a nasty, cutthroat competition to dominate baking, commerce, and society, a full-fledged war that changed the social orde “Baking Powder Wars” by Linda Civitello should be on the “must read” list of every foodie. I am not a “foodie” but since I know some, I was intrigued by the title. I had no idea that baking powder played such an important, even pivotal, role in what we eat, cook, and do. This book is not about an obscure little business competition between baking powder companies; it outlines a nasty, cutthroat competition to dominate baking, commerce, and society, a full-fledged war that changed the social order. Who knew that baking powder influenced home-making, American food, cookbooks, cooking methods, advertising, recipes, trade unions, war rations, flavorings, trading cards, oh, and brought about CUPCAKES AND DONUTS?A tremendous amount of quality research went into this book as shown in the extensive details. It was not the dry and tedious read one might expect from a “history book.” It was actually interesting and very easy to read; it was a “thriller” set in the food world. I ‘m still not a real foodie; I have not started photos online posting of food I am eating, but I have certainly gained a new appreciation for the lowly red can of baking powder stuck in the back of my cupboard.When I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review, I did not expect much, but I was certainly wrong. I really enjoyed the trip through history, and certainly learned a lot about a product that changed more of civilization than I would have believed possible.
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