By Clayton Anderson Coppin, Jack C. High
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Additional info for The Politics of Purity: Harvey Washington Wiley and the Origins of Federal Food Policy
He disliked government paternalism, thought that most government activity bestowed special favors on particular groups, and believed that most government officials were corrupt. The years under Morton were rough ones for the Department of Agriculture. Not satisfied with his efforts to limit the growth of the department, Morton recommended abolishing it at the end of his termY The subtle changes in the organization of the Department of Agriculture were even harder on Wiley's efforts to build his division than were the changes in the political environment.
Bread, a staple for many Americans at the turn of the century, was one of the earliest foods to move from home to market. Although baking a good loaf of bread was considered a necessary accomplishment by middle-class housekeepers, its preparation demanded a considerable amount of time and large amounts of fuel. Given this, it is not surprising that bread making moved from the home to the local bakery. In doing so, it reflected America's European heritage. In Europe, the color of the bread had indicated the social class of the consumer: the darker the bread, the lower the class.
As competition increased, national brands found it useful to accuse local brands of adulteration. If a firm could convince consumers that a competitor's product was unwholesome, it might very well increase sales. It was this strategy that erupted into the spectacular baking powder trade war. The first American cookbook to call for chemical leavening was Amelia Simmons's American Cookery, which was published in 1796. 11 At first, the soda and acid were added to food separately, but it was difficult to get the measurements exact enough to produce the proper chemical reaction.
The Politics of Purity: Harvey Washington Wiley and the Origins of Federal Food Policy by Clayton Anderson Coppin, Jack C. High