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.~NetGalley Blurb
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*
Freelance Editor & Reviewer