After Cindy McCain posted her favorite family recipes on the campaign Web site, bloggers quickly exposed the recipes as stolen from the Food Network and newspapers.
Mainstream media gave the story little play after the McCain campaign blamed it on an intern. (Imagine the explosion if Michele Obama or Bill Clinton were caught plagiarizing and then accused low-level staff.)
Media downplayed this story, not because they like McCain, but because they misunderestimate the political importance of recipes.
In 1992, facing conflicts of interest questions about work given to the Rose Law Firm while her husband was governor, Hillary Clinton explained, "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life."
Faced with explosive reaction, Hillary published her recipe for chocolate chip cookies:
Mix together flower, sugar, eggs, shortening, chocolate chips, and far too much oatmeal. Then bake. (Bill must have been campaigning in an oat-producing state.)
The recipe defense succeeded brilliantly. Thereafter, whenever she or Bill landed in hot water, Hillary defused the crisis by releasing one of her recipes, including:
- Tournedos Lewinsky — Beef filet served on a bed of thong underwear
- Whitewater Potatoes — Fingerling potatoes, parboiled, then fraudulently transferred to a sauté pan.
- Poulet á la Paula Jones — Chicken braised in a trailer park
- Trader's Pork — Pork loin stuffed with incriminating commodity profits
- Rose Billing Pain Perdu — Unfortunately, this recipe has been lost.
- A series of cakes — Travel Gateaux, Trooper Gateaux, File Gateaux
Maintaining this practice throughout her current campaign, Hillary promulgated recipes whenever she was in trouble. She released Treacley Teardrop Tostadas in New Hampshire, Kitchen Sink Stew in Ohio, and 3 a.m. Red Phone Chili in Texas.
In Pennsylvania, after her recipe for Bosnian Sniper Duck proved a disappointment, she regained her footing with Boilermaker's Brew and Fear Monger's Delight (a quenelle of depression topped with a soubise of Pearl Harbor and bin Laden.)
Thus far, Barack Obama has proven less adept with recipes. His Gutterball Goulash and Small Town Bitter Greens both flopped in Pennsylvania.
Rumors from the Clinton camp suggest the kitchen is working feverishly to perfect Generalissimo Hill's Chicken, Slash and Burn Succotash, and Scorched Earth Eggs prior to the Indiana primary.
It is a trying time for Democrats, but a great time for cooks.
Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!