Bill Clinton is now officially the first man to enter a recipe into everyone’s favorite compulsory political bake-off, following in the footsteps of brave fictional hero Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation.
Today, Bill submitted the Clinton Family Chocolate Chip Cookies into the Family Circle First Lady Cookie Contest, which for his sake, has been re-branded as the Presidential Cookie Poll. Bill’s cookies will go head-to-head with Melania Trump’s Star Cookies in a Facebook poll. You have until October 4 to cast your vote.
As saccharine political theater goes, the cookie contest might make you even queasier than usual. Because holy retrograde gender roles, Batman. But in Bill Clinton’s case, it’s also scrumptiously ironic. The whole thing was cooked up as a way to make Hillary Clinton literally spend some time in the kitchen.
Here’s the background: During Bill’s run for office in 1992, a reporter asked Hillary about her career choices and she said, “You know, I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life. And I tried very, very hard to be as careful as possible, and that’s all that I can tell you.” Cue the outrage, from stay at home moms and pundits and, well, everyone. Family Circle Magazine responded by challenging Hillary to a bake-off, and she could hardly say no. And thus a weirdly compulsory cookie contest was born.
For some people, having the likely First Dude strap on an apron seems like a victory.
OMG BILL CLINTON SUBMITTED A COOKIE RECIPE TO FAMILY CIRCLE THIS IS IT THE PATRIARCHY IS COMING DOWN
— Kate Stayman-London (@_ksl) August 18, 2016
Bill’s submission is being met with some outrage, too, though mostly not over the fact that the recipe isn’t Bill’s. (It’s the same recipe Hillary submitted in 1992 and 1996.) No, it’s because Bill is a noted vegan and many people apparently expected him to enter some butter-free, egg-free concoction. Although, honestly, Bill may be a vegan now, but he wasn’t always, and he knows vegan cookies do not a winning bake-off make.
Would Bill Clinton’s inevitably awful vegan southern fusion cookies trump Melania Trump’s? @jenwgilmore https://t.co/82gL3URezb
— Room for Debate (@roomfordebate) July 28, 2016
Cookies for the First Gentleman: A Vegan Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe for Bill Clinton https://t.co/IWTv0ZMyEw
— Maximum Middle Age (@MaxMiddleAge) August 17, 2016
Clintons camp submitted a “Clinton family recipe” to Family Circles presidential cookie contest. I was hoping for Bill Clinton vegan cookies
— Michelle Hackman (@MHackman) August 18, 2016
If you’re having deja-vu, it may because you watched this episode on NBC a few years ago. In the Pie-Mary episode, Parks and Rec writers fan-fictioned a better ending for the 1992 Clinton cookie kerfuffle. What they came up with looked a lot like today. In that episode, while Leslie Knope’s husband Ben Wyatt is running for office, Knope (sounding very Clinton-ish indeed) refuses to join the traditional pie-baking contest.
People get mad, and Wyatt ends up competing in Leslie’s place. Bill could have taken a few lessons from Ben—at least he found a way to make the Pie-Mary his own.
And to all the people out there saying it’s absurd for dudely Bill Clinton to have to participate in this pageant of domesticity (and they exist), we’ll let Knope take this one:
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