With his love of the number 1,776 and his talent for attracting hordes of men in tricorn hats, it’s easy to see Ron Paul as a man out of time. But to what era does Paul properly belong? I’d always figured he was an early-1800s kind of guy, but new evidence is causing me to question that assumption. His wife Carol’s new campaign cookbook suggests the presidential candidate might more correctly be situated in the 1960s, during the days of such technological breakthroughs as processed cheese and Tang.
The Paul presidential campaign started selling the newest family cookbook last week in exchange for donations of $8, calling it “one of the best campaign handouts you will ever find.” This is actually the latest in a long line of Paul family cookbooks. (Back in 2007, Carol Paul told me it was her idea to send cookbooks to the Texas congressman’s constituents.) Based on a digital version of the cookbook the campaign sent, this year’s appears to be a fairly professional package. It includes color photos of the Paul family, as well as a brief, patriotic family biography titled “The American Dream: Through the Eyes of Mrs. Ron Paul.” (Takeaway: Ron Paul is “a man who is trying to deliver the message that freedom works and that patriotism must not go weak in the hearts of all Americans.”)
But the most interesting insights offered by the Ron Paul Family Cookbook come from its recipes, which hail from a time before the obesity crisis and talk of good fats and bad fats, before such terms as organic, locavore, or even low-fat existed. They hail from an era before the White House had an organic garden, and Michelle Obama tried to take away everyone’s cookies. They’re more, oh, Goldwater-era in spirit. There are a number of recipes requiring either instant pudding and onion soup mix. A recipe for pork tenderloin requires an entire block of cream cheese, and so does a recipe for something called “Easy Oreo Truffles.” (I counted six recipes requiring a block of cream cheese.) There’s cheese soup made from a box of Velveeta, and a recipe for “Spicy Crackers,” which consists of little more than saltines soaked in ranch dressing. There’s “Monica’s Reuben Dip,” which is cream cheese, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut, and corned beef all baked together into one grand artery-clogging orgy. Mm-mm! Apparently, Ron Paul is eating like the gold standard is still in place.