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Linda Civitello
August 23, 2017

One of our graduate students, Linda Civitello, recently published a book called Baking Powder Wars: The Cutthroat Food Fight that Revolutionized Cooking.

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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.