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Gov. Scott to publish cookbook

TALLAHASSEE — Just in time for the holiday season, Gov. Rick Scott and wife Ann are planning to release a cookbook with favorite recipes from the kitchen of the Governor’s Mansion.

Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said the cookbook will be coming out “very soon,” and will be discussed at Thursday’s meeting of the Governor’s Mansion Commission in Tallahassee.

Schutz, however, could not provide any information about the cookbook before that meeting. The meeting agenda was not available in advance.

The commission is a state body charged with preserving the mansion’s antique furnishings and maintaining the historic design of the 57-year-old Greek Revival-style house and its grounds.

Proceeds from the cookbook’s sale will go to the nonprofit Florida Governors Mansion Foundation, set up to accept private funds for mansion upkeep and improvement.

The foundation is allowed to “sell books, brochures, pictures and other materials,” according to its mission statement.

Calls to foundation president Mike Hightower and mansion curator Carol Beck weren’t returned Wednesday.

The foundation has been ramping up fundraising under Scott, according to its most recent financial disclosures.

In 2009, it ended the year with nearly $500,000 in reserves but took in just $7,700.

In 2010, the foundation’s reserves dropped to a little more than $423,000 and it raised $7,300.

In 2011, which was Scott’s first full year in office and the last year for which a financial disclosure is available online, the foundation posted $291,000 in revenue, $131,000 in spending and had reserves of about $583,000.

More than $800,000 in public and private money has been spent on mansion improvements while Scott has been in office, the Associated Press reported last month.

The work includes new wallpaper, pillows, furniture, drapes, paint, window repairs, new screens for the swimming pool and an upgraded kitchen.

Scott’s version follows a number of other “goveror’s house” cookbooks published through the years.

Ohio has a “Governor’s Residence Cookbook,” filled with “favorite recipes and memories” from “over 50 years of gracious entertaining.”

Proceeds from its sale go to the Ohio Governor’s Residence Foundation, according to its Amazon listing.

Amazon also offers the “Governor’s Staff Recipe Cookbook,” from Jerry Brown’s first stint as California governor in 1975-83. Brown returned to that state’s governor’s office after winning election in 2010.

The cover features a caricature of a younger, smiling Brown, clutching a knife and fork and wearing a chef’s toque that reads “Chief Cook.”

The Ohio cookbook’s Amazon “Best Sellers Rank” is 1,761,333; Brown’s cookbook is unranked.

Texas has “Dining at the Governor’s Mansion,” a 328-page tome published by Texas A&M University Press, its website shows.

“You are invited to dine at the Texas Governor’s Mansion, to be the guest of the first ladies and two women governors of the Lone Star State, as they offer … some of their finest recipes and favorite stories of life in the heart of Austin,” the promotional copy says.

The university press printed 5,000 copies of that cookbook in 2003 for sale at $24.95 each, a spokeswoman said. She could not divulge sales figures but said “most” have been sold.

jrosica@tampatrib.com

(850) 765-0807

Twitter: @jlrosicaTBO

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