a piece of culinary history that i didnt know about -the baking powder war

while looking for an out of print recipie made by calumet baking powder company I found this ……


apparently there was a “war” for 80 years between calumet that used a totally different formula from traditional baking powder companies and they fought back with tricks employed that would make Rockefeller and standard oil proud………

just thought some would find it interesting…

A great story! I used to do Living History, so I love stuff like this. Thanks for posting it! :cool:

This rang a vague bell for me. Completely irrelevant factoid: in one episode of “Who Do You Think You Are” over here, one of our most popular TV presenters discovered that a great-grandfather was Joseph Hoagland, the boss of Royal Baking Powder (the baking powder war wasn’t touched on, though, as I recall)

you’re welcome wow… those guys made a fortune I wonder if Vincent price knew his grandpa made baking powder also ……

In a previous life, I sold this product.

Thanks for bringing this story to life.

“Is It Malaria, or Is It Alum?” You just don’t see that kind of advertising genius anymore.

A 5lb can of baking powder? Wow!

Most recipes only use a couple teaspoons. A small 8 oz can lasts for years in the cupboard.

My mom had a can of Calumet for years. I remember the Indian well. :wink: I’d pretend to shoot at him with my cowboy pistols.vpow, pow! LOL

The five-pound tin surprised me too. But that was at a time when housewives baked every single day, perhaps more than once.

A quick check and yep, there’s a can of Calumet in the pantry.

It more or less continues to this day, as aluminum-free baking powder is available. From Wiki:

I’m guessing that a five-pound tin would be used in a professional kitchen, at a restaurant or bakery or the like.

I remember in Laurel and Hardy’s Tit for Tat, Stan and Ollie ate marshmallows coated (accidentally) with alum. Didn’t look like something I’d want to ingest. :dubious:

We do get exposed to a lot of aluminum.

We cook in aluminum pans. Drink from aluminum cans and it’s in our baking powder.

Antacids have it.

Tea leeches aluminum.

Does make me wonder about safety.

The Greeks & Romans loved their lead lined cups and pots. Made the wine so sweet. That didn’t work out to well.

But you wouldn’t be ingesting any alum, from alum-containing baking powder, just like you also wouldn’t be ingesting any sodium bicarbonate.

Revision: I just watched the film on YouTube. The marshmallows were *deliberately *coated with alum! :eek:

I think Rolaids have aluminum in them, but I find Tums are much gentler on my stomach. :o

Perhaps. But people at out much less frequently then. They also ate far less store-bought food than we do now. So it’s possible the five-pound tin was for the home kitchen.

1 tablespoon of baking powder clocks in at 0.03 lbs. So a 5 lb. tin will give you 160-170 tablespoons of powder. Baking once or twice a day means that tin will easily be gone in 6 months.

To which axis of Baking Power evil does Clabber Girl belong?

or are they their own third leg of a three-way power struggle?

PS I just bought me a Calumet Reliable Recipes book from ebay. I see more biscuits in my future.

These are all spray coated with an epoxy on the interior, though.

you also have to remember until the 40s and 50s most housewives had “baking day” which was customarily in her part of south mich/ north ind Saturday grandma told me

her and great grandma baked between 6-12 loaves of bread for the week (there was something like 6 kids) sometimes more if they ran out during the week not counting cakes biscuits cookies ect

you could get it delivered from a nearby bakery but wasn’t much difference and in the depression wasn’t worth the expense when the only thing they couldn’t get on the farm was baking soda……… so 5 pounds might of lasted a month or two
great grandma also wouldn’t allow wonder bread in her house either Flavorless mush she called it …… grandma however thought it was great for sandwiches but when she wanted dinner bread she made rolls or buttermilk biscuits herself ironically she didn’t care for “baking powder biscuits” herself (I think they were considered dirt poor peoples biscuits was her thing )