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Pacific Taste: Battle Royal - The Baking Powder Wars

  • San Diego Central Library 330 Park Boulevard San Diego, CA, 92101 United States (map)

Presented by Culinary Historians of San Diego

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Hear NatFAB Fellow Linda Civitello describe how baking powder, an American invention, revolutionized baking and created uniquely American foods, such as baking powder biscuits, cakes, cookies, and quick breads. It also spawned a series of vicious trade wars that continued for nearly a century and involved the USDA’s Poison Squad, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the legislature of almost every state and territory. Baking powder fortunes also left legacies in some most unusual places. A tasting of historic 18th-century gingerbread made with heirloom flour will follow the presentation.


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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 included in 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 has taught “The History of Chocolate” at UCLA Extension and “Food and Art” at the Getty. She has served on the faculty at the Art Institutes of California and Le Cordon Bleu, and on television she has appeared on Bizarre Foods, National Geographic (NatGeoTV), 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 and a PhD in History from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Pacific Taste is an ongoing series of culinary talks and workshops hosted by the Pacific Food & Beverage Museum in venues across Southern California. Research Fellow Linda Civitello, Curator Richard FossChef Ernest Miller, and others deliver lively lectures and lead hands-on workshops demonstrating the rich culinary traditions and distinctive cuisines of the Pacific Coast and American West. 

Earlier Event: February 17
Kids in the Kitchen: Mini Lasagnas!
Later Event: February 17
In the SoFAB Kitchen with Those Nuts!