In an age when pretty much nobody bakes anything, Laura Shapiro wonders in Gourmet, why do Americans still expect would-be First Ladies to whip out cookie recipes for the public’s pleasure? Shapiro looks at the recipes submitted by Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama for a Yankee contest—and gives Obama’s homey apple cobbler the decisive nod.
"It’s so resolutely down-home that you expect to see it emerge from your printer on a splattered index card,” writes Shapiro, who found McCain’s cookie recipe was lifted from Quaker Oats (but turned out fine). But why should we expect candidates’ wives to bake at all? Shapiro suggests it might be "because we’re always hoping that food will tell us the truth about people who are very good at staying hidden.”