Sodium or potassium bicarbonate. Baking soda, or sometimes what puts the fizz in soda pop.
I've run across references to 'health ruined by salaratus', though alas I've lost my original quote - Yonge, maybe, writing of persons so unfortunate as to be forced to live in US boardinghouses? Or, for instance, in Godey's Lady's' Book and Magazine, "Saleratus Destroys the Teeth". More seriously, (1860s and later) warned against it, recommending fruit and varied whole grains in the diet instead.
So; really dangerous? It would be an easy sell as a nervous superstition; it was a new invention, with a bright halo of Progress and a trailing umbra of Risk. It was the easy way to make bread, the poor household's way, the way used by an unfeminine woman who did something other than tend the proofing yeast or beat biscuits with a mallet. Very suspicious. And of course it might have been badly manufactured, or promoted for reckless uses.
The use of soda ash for bread is said to be a New World invention, indeed a pre-Columbian one. And, as far as bread goes, the most famous use currently is probably Irish soda bread. Well set to fret nineteenth-century nerves, that combination of Native American and Hibernian history.So wrote clew in Cookery. , Word. | TrackBack