Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Day Eats

Tomorrow is the big day. It’s the day that political junkies look forward to every four years. And this year, it’s the last day that swing state voters hope their phones stop ringing off the hooks. This year’s campaign has not been pretty. But, is politics ever? I have been writing some middle school history curriculum over the past few months – and let me tell you, the United States has had its share of ugly elections. But, the beautiful part is that we are still here. We still believe in democracy at the end of the day. No matter who you vote for, it’s important to vote. Regardless of who wins, I know I will wake up on Wednesday hoping that we can put aside the bitter partisan rhetoric and force our politicians to actually work together for a change.

In honor of the election, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the role food plays in presidential politics. We’ve all seen the photos of the candidates on the campaign trail – dropping into a mom and pop cafes, delivering pizza to their weary campaigners, digging into an ice cream cone or eating a corn dog at the county fair. And the campaign wives get in on it too. Ann Romney recently handed out her homemade Welsh cakes to the press. Each election year, Family Circle runs a contest featuring the candidates' wives’cookie recipes. This year Michelle Obama’s white and dark chocolate chip cookies won over Ann Romney’s M&M's cookies. Let’s face it – politicians eat as strategically as they shake hands and kiss babies.  

I love election night! I love watching the returns come in and hearing the talking heads speculate about who will carry what state. I’ll be home biting my nails and glued to the TV. I was thinking it would be fun, however, to cook a themed meal in celebration of the occasion. So, I have developed menus based what I could glean on the likes, dislikes and food traditions of each major candidate.  These are meant to be tongue and cheek – so please do not take this too seriously!

So, depending on whom your favorite is – here are some ideas to get you started thinking about an election night meal. 

Menu Approved by Barack Obama (Democrat, Incumbent)
The President is said to have a fondness for Mexican food and enjoys whipping up his own chili. We know he likes beer, burgers, Hawaiian pizza and of course, arugula. Remember that Iowa campaign moment in 2008?

The president eating at an Italian restaurant in Davenport, Iowa.

To eat:
Guacamole and Chips (the president is said to be a fan of guacamole and Rick Bayless's Chicago restaurants)
Turkey Chili (the Obama family recipe)
Michelle’s cookies (they are award-winning after all)

To drink:
Local brew of your choice (the White House brews its own craft beer!)

Menu Approved by Mitt Romney (Republican)
We don’t know a lot about his food preferences, but we do know that his campaign has a fondness for Jimmy John’s subs. He also seems to enjoy ice cream. 

Governor Romney enjoying some ice cream with the Ohio governor.

New England Clam Dip (in honor of his home state) 
Mitt's Meat Loaf Cakes (Ann's recipe shared by the campaign) 
Funeral Potatoes (a Mormon staple and ultimate comfort food dish) 
Fall Green Salad (just cause you need a salad)
Ann’s Welsh Cakes with Vanilla Ice Cream (gotta have ice cream)

To drink:
Water or lemonade. No alcohol, caffeine or hot drinks allowed.

If you are hosting a non-partisan watching party, you can mix both the menus. And if you are voting third-party, just make whatever you want! :)

Whatever your political affliation, I think we can all agree that food is good. Happy Election Day!

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