Tonight as I searched for baking soda at my daughter-in-law's house, I looked online to see if there was a substitute. There is not, it appears. For baking powder, there is a substiute, but baking soda, no. So no chocolate chip cookies got baked, but a good neighbor brought some over later on; the cookies will be get made tomorrow. In the meantime I learned a few interesitng things:
How did Devil's Food Cake get its name? According to JoyofBaking.com, it's because of a chemical reaction between baking soda and cocoa--th soda causes the cocoa to turn a reddish color.
Wikipedia has a different opinion, however--therethe cause of the name is the richness of the cake, so rich as to be devilishly good.
However, Baking 911 seems to agree ith Joy of Baking:
"Baking soda is used to produce the rich red color in the Red Velvet Cake that calls for Dutch-process cocoa. Vinegar and buttermilk, both acidic ingredients are added because the baking soda needs it to react. If the same recipe used baking powder, the cake would have a brown crumb color and probably taste bitter."
So in trying to find a substitute, I learned a lot about the properties of both ingredients, and acids and alkali to boot. Who would have thought that something so simple could be so scientific?