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Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
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Gov. Scott’s cookbook still available – but not online or in stores

A cookbook inspired by Gov. Rick Scott and his wife Ann was released in November, but there aren’t any copies for sale at the state Capitol’s gift shop.

It’s not sold down the street at the Museum of Florida History’s gift shop, and it’s not listed on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

In fact, “Viva La Florida,” celebrating the state’s 500th anniversary and featuring “recipes from the Florida Governor’s Mansion,” is available only by calling the mansion, Scott spokeswoman Mallory Deason said.

Nonetheless, the Florida Governor’s Mansion Foundation reports it has sold more than two-thirds of the press run, according to Deason — 2,200 copies out of 3,000 printed.

It hasn’t been heavily promoted. When first asked about the cookbook this week, the governor’s press office referred only to a Facebook post from Mrs. Scott last Nov. 21.

Proceeds, Mrs. Scott’s post said, will “go to support the foundation and the preservation of state history.”

When asked what projects would be funded, Deason answered, “The Mansion Foundation determines this.”

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

The foundation is the fundraising arm of the Governor’s Mansion Commission, the state body charged with preserving the mansion’s antique furnishings and maintaining the historic design of the Greek Revival-style house and its grounds.

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

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 year.

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

The foundation, which produced the cookbook, spent nearly $73,000 to design, produce and print it, Deason said.

None of that was taxpayer money, she added, but rather came through private donations.

Scott’s cookbook follows two other mansion cookbooks.

The foundation also put out “700 North Adams Street” during the Chiles Administration and “First Families in Residence” during the Bush Administration, Deason said. A copy of “Viva La Florida” wasn’t available for review, but foundation board member Brian Ballard attested to its elegance.

“I’ve seen a copy,” said Ballard, who runs a statewide lobbying firm. “It’s very nice.”

“Viva La Florida” is available through the Governor’s Mansion, (850) 717-9345. Each cookbook costs $53.75, plus shipping (tax included).

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