One interesting effect of living in NH is getting an up-close look at political advertising every four years. I don’t think there has been anywhere near the fuss this time – perhaps because Iowa and SC have increased importance, perhaps because 24-7 media and instant polling gives the nation much of the information it used to depend on NH for.
But still, the rest of the country may not have received the Ron Paul Cookbook in the mail. Quite the item, and exactly as it says, it has recipes; it’s not using “cookbook” as a metaphor for legislation and attitudes. There are lots of pictures of Ron’s family, and some short essays, including his wife’s about America, but there’s banana bread and brisket as well. Simple, everyday American recipes, including such ingredients as a bottle of catalina dressing for the brisket (only two more ingredients there).
I am trying to imagine when this could have occurred before in American campaigns. I think one would have to go farther back than my parents’ generation (which is Ron’s generation). It looks like something I would have found in my grandmother’s bookcase, kept either because it had a particular recipe worth keeping or because she liked the pol. I can’t imagine who that would be, even then. It wouldn’t be something from the Bass family, or the Greggs, or the Bridges. One of the Straws might have tried something like that as PR for the mills, but not for office-seeking. It’s just not us. Seems like it would go down better with the voters in the Midwest or the South.
OTOH, the styling has a 90’s Rodale Press look about it, which in turn drew some from Grit or Burpee’s seeds from a generation before, so the appeal might intentionally be to a younger audience, hankering for an America that never quite existed in any region but was pretty solidly in the imaginations (and aspirations) of most Americans years ago. Ron Paul apparently does have quite a following among the young, and perhaps that’s why.
I think I’ll keep it. Heck, no other candidate ever sent me a cookbook before. My grandchildren might have a hard time integrating it into history at first glance, though.