The Power of Baking Powder

Special Collections has quite a selection of pamphlets filled with recipes from baking powder, baking soda, and flour producers. After all, what kitchen would be complete without tens (or even hundreds!) of variations of biscuit and bread recipes! Most, however, are short in length, small, and paperback with tiny, if any, pictures. So it was a pleasant surprise to find this little gem last week, which features a hard cover, large full color illustrations, and more than 70 pages of recipes!

Ryzon Baking Powder was a product of the General Chemical Company in New York. It does not seem to have been produced for very long, though the company still exists today. There were only three editions of a Ryzon recipe book between 1916 and 1918. Our copy of the 1917 edition is one of about a dozen in public or academic libraries, though there are plenty in private hands. 

Recipes in the cookbook range from the usual (biscuits, parker house rolls, and corn bread) to the uncommon (“hot-dog” dainties, salmon and tomatoes, and apriba loaf). (Thankfully, no gelatin!) Many of the recipes were compiled from women around the country and there is even one for rice corn pudding from Puerto Rico.

You may not be able to get your hands on Ryzon baking powder today, but there are still plenty of options (some of which you’ll undoubtedly learn more about on this blog in the future), so go forth and bake! And if you’re feeling adventurous, try the “Artichokes a la Remoulade Shells” and let us know how it turns out…

5 thoughts on “The Power of Baking Powder

  1. I have always liked the lovely illustrations in the Ryzon book! Did you know that there was a terrible controversy about the health aspects of baking powder around the beginning of the 20th Century? Some companies used cream of tarter (with baking soda) which was expensive, so others substituted alum (aluminum). The cream of tarter companies accused the alum products of being poisonous, and a huge battle raged between the two factions.

    1. I did not know that! I’ll have to look into the dramatic history of the baking powder debates. I’m sure we have information about it somewhere in the collection. And I have to add that I’m quite intrigued by the “Hot-Dog” Dainties, which appear to be a full-size precursor to the modern “pig in a blanket.”

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