October 11, 2007

Baking Powder Double Take

I randomly pulled a handful of cookery pamphlets off a shelf this morning in search of some inspiration for my blog post.

In my pre-coffee haze, the top two booklets in the pile caused a double take on my part because the titles were so similar.

How to Save Eggs by Using Dr. Price's "Cream" Baking Powder (1919, 22 pp.) and 55 Ways to Save Eggs (1923, 22 pp.) were both published by Royal Baking Powder Co. and are nearly identical in their content.

Why do two different products have the same recipe booklet? The answer was simple and easily found in A Guide to Collecting Cookbooks by Colonel Bob Allen.

"By 1915 the Price Baking Powder Company was acquired by the Royal Baking Powder Company and continued manufacturing Dr. Price's Cream Baking Powder."
Looks like Royal found a way to squeeze a litle more from their advertising budget by generating a new cover and replacing the Royal Baking Powder name for the Dr. Price's name in all references to the the product.

Small, insignificant changes to a few of the recipes and slight wording changes in the introduction are the only noticeable differences between the content of the two booklets.

"When eggs are high priced, a considerable saving can be made if fewer are used in baking, and Royal Baking Powder, a cream of tartar powder, used in place of the eggs omitted. Many housewives are taking advantage of this great saving, and are using these recipes, thus saving the eggs for omelets and other purposes and, at the same time, having their customary delicious breads, muffins and cakes as well.

In nearly all recipes in which eggs are used, the number may be reduced one-half or more, and excellent results obtained by using a small additional quantity of Royal Baking Powder, about a teaspoon, in place of each egg omitted. The recipes in this booklet illustrates how this may be done.

Expert cooks have tested these recipes and the delicious products that have been made without eggs, or with one or two eggs when more were used in the Old Way, have shown how the small additional quantity of Royal Baking Powder in place of each egg omitted effects a substantial savings and at the same time produces sweet, appetizing food.

Many comparative tests of the quality and costs of foods made at home with Royal Baking Powder and those purchased in the bake-shop, have demonstrated that food made at home is not only of better quality and more economical, but will keep fresh longer. Also there is the added advantage of knowing that the ingredients used are healthful.

The tables of ingredients under the Old Way show by comparison the saving in eggs, shortening and other expensive ingredients by the New Way. The directions apply to the New Way."

The next-to-last paragraph is still true close to a century later. Cooking at home, no matter how you do it, all from scratch or with the help of convenience foods, is still more healthful and inexpensive than dining out or purchasing pre-prepared foods.

Buck the trend. Prepare a homemade meal today.

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At 9:32 PM CDT, Blogger T.W. Barritt said...

It's pretty fascinating to see the kind of household advice that appears in these books over the years. I would never have thought of baking powder as a replacement for eggs!

At 7:16 AM CDT, Blogger Kathy said...

I'm not much of a kitchen scientist, but our friend Google says when eggs in a recipe are used for leavening it's possible. Vegetarians and folks with food allergies sometimes use baking powder as an egg substitute.


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