“Baking Powder Wars”

baking powder“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 from Linda Civitello, University of Illinois Press, and NetGalley 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.