A Desire for Speed

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

Toward the turn of the twentieth century, dessert again began to change, and nowhere was this clearer than in the United States. The burgeoning (and busy) American middle class had few of the artisan bakeries available in continental Europe, and so the focus was on home cooking. Instead of relying on domestic help, Americans looked to science and technology. Into the void came kitchen machines like eggbeaters and chemical leaveners such as baking powder, all of which sped up the baking process. See chemical leaveners and whisks and beaters. Product manufacturers distributed cookbooks full of quickbread recipes, encouraging the widespread adoption of such tools. Industrialization and mass production created a dessert culture that was more about speed than refinement, taste than presentation.