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A Lady Who Understands Chemistry

"When the alkali is a light powder, it may sometimes be mixed thoroughly with the flour, and then the sour liquid be mixed in. The experiment can be made by any who [would] like to learn the result. A lady who understands chemistry may often improve her receipts by applying chemical principles. All the lightness made by an acid and an alkali is owing to the disengagement of carbonic acid, which is retained by the gluten of the flour. Of course, then, that mode is best which secures most effectually all the carbonic acid generated by the combination."

The "lady who understands chemistry", Catherine Beecher, the sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe, published this in "Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt-Book" (1858, page 202). She established home economics as a discipline and while some of us, like me, didn't have much fun in home economics in school (or ok in life) I do appreciate that she emphasized the importance of a scientific background as the basis for running the home, and wrote a book that is worth reading even today.

Thanks to FairerScience friend Kathryn Campbell-Kibler for sending this on.