If you think having the presidential candidates’ wives compete in a cookie baking competition sounds like a relic of pre-women’s liberation, you’re both right and wrong. Family Circle Magazine’s tradition of spouses baking cookies for America does feel remarkably antiquated and certainly doesn’t account for the first female nominee of a major political party having a husband (let alone the possibility of a male nominee with a husband). But that is the case now, and Bill Clinton and Melania Trump are putting up their best cookie recipes for America to choose from.
This “tradition” actually only dates back to 1992, when then-Arkansas governor Bill Clinton’s candidacy brought something different to the campaign: an accomplished, career-driven woman as future first lady. Mrs. Clinton was (and forever would be) a lightning rod of controversy. When questioned about her law career at the time, Hillary sparked outrage (yes, outrage did exist pre-Internet) by saying she “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.”