The First Lady Cookie Contest has been canceled indefinitely

Family Circle magazine ran the contest during every presidential election cycle for nearly three decades.
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/ Source: TODAY
By Erica Chayes Wida

After nearly three decades, a sweet political tradition has come to an end.

This week it was announced that Family Circle magazine will no longer hold its quadrennial baking competition, the First Lady Cookie Contest, that pitted incumbent first ladies against potential presidential spouses.

The poll first was launched in 1992 as a way for subscribers to judge which first spouse could make the ultimate classic sweet treat. The magazine published the recipes during presidential candidates' campaigns and announced the winners in October so, presumably, voters would be armed with this essential knowledge before heading to the polls in November.

Family Circle magazine published its last issue in December 2019, ending its 86-year circulation run. However, a spokesperson from Meredith Corporation, Family Circle's parent company, did not disclose why the organization chose to cancel the competition this year.

"There are no plans to bring this contest to other Meredith brands at this time," the spokesperson told TODAY.

Before the publication folded, the cookie contest champion had accurately predicted the results in all but two of the presidential elections held during its time, NBC News reported.

In 2008, Michelle Obama’s lemon zest shortbread cookies lost to Cindy McCain’s oatmeal-butterscotch cookies. (Obama came out on top during her husband's bid for a second term with a recipe for white-and-dark chocolate chip cookies, created by her daughters' godmother.)

In 2016, the same year Family Circle editors dropped the title of first lady from the contest and changed it to the "Presidential Cookie Poll," Melania Trump's sour cream star cookies lost to the Clinton family's chocolate chip cookie recipe, the Washington Post reported.

Perhaps it was apt that the final cookie contest culminated in a win for Clinton, this time with her competing not as first lady but as the presidential candidate. According to the Washington Post, Clinton actually inspired the idea for the first cookie contest when she defended her career as a lawyer and political activist during her husband's presidential campaign in 1992.

Said Clinton at the time, "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."

With a sense of irony, Family Circle ran with Clinton's line and began its first-ever contest for presidential spouses. Despite her perceived dig at baking, Clinton's oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies bested Barbara Bush's chocolate chip cookies in 1992. When she faced Elizabeth Dole's pecan cookies in 1996, Clinton was victorious again.