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America Takes the Cake!

  • Pacific Food & Beverage Museum 731 South Pacific Avenue San Pedro, CA, 90731 United States (map)

A Gallery Talk, Tasting, and Book Signing with Culinary Historian Linda Civitello, PhD

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Cake—what would weddings and birthdays be without it? Pre-19th-century cakes were just yeast bread tricked out with eggs, sugar, and spices. Then American women radically reinvented cake using baking powder. How did recipes and information about the technology for this new cake circulate? Most importantly, how did we arrive at the quintessential American cake—chocolate?

Hear NatFAB Fellow Linda Civitello tell the tale and then sample cake from its various incarnations, including historic 18th-century gingerbread made with heirloom flour from Pasadena's Grist & Toll.

Admission is free with RSVP.

About the Presenter

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Linda Civitello is the author of Baking Powder Wars: The Cutthroat Food Fight That Revolutionized Cooking, which Smithsonian magazine named one of "The 10 Best Food Books of 2017" and Eater featured in its its list of “10 Food Books to Know About.” Civitello is also the author of Cuisine & Culture: A History of Food and People, winner of the Gourmand Award for Best Food History Book in English (US). Articles in Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover’s Companion to New York City include “Windows on the World,” “The Oyster Bar at Grand Central,” and “Food, Film, and NYC.” Civitello taught "The History of Chocolate" at UCLA Extension and "Food & Art" at the Getty Center. She has served on the faculty of The Art Institute of California - Los Angeles and Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles and has appeared on television's Bizarre Foods, National Geographic (Nat Geo), and the BBC. She has spoken about food at Harvard University and before the American Chemical Society. She holds an undergraduate degree in English from Vassar College and a PhD in history from UCLA.