One of the perks of food writing is that it rarely gets political.
Granted, there are major issues within our country’s mainstream food supply that are the stuff of government policy. And of course, Californians are voting on a potentially landmark piece of legislation to label genetically modified organisms in food (think almost every conventional, packaged item on the shelves).
But when it comes to cooking with the straight-up goal of entertaining, most of us just want everyone to have a good time, politics aside. I personally wouldn’t be up to the challenge of maintaining a congenial atmosphere for friends of diverse (or vehemently opposed!) political views to follow today’s election together. But at least one newspaper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram amassed some fairly simple and tongue-in-cheek ideas for an election-night party. A haplessly idealistic or truly bipartisan goal?
Not surprisingly, the best bets are “all-American” foods like macaroni and cheese, apple pie and root-beer floats. Decor is a cinch with leftover Fourth of July decorations or just plain red and blue serviceware.
To fete the presidential candidates, consider a purported Obama favorite: chili, also perfect party fare, particularly with the “democratic” approach of letting everyone choose their own toppings from an array prepared for the occasion. Rumor has it that a Romney staple on the campaign trail are peanut butter-and-honey sandwiches, which almost could pass for dessert.
I personally like the “melting-pot” concept of fondue, one of my favorite party foods, covered in a previous post. Make the classic cheese version for dipping with plenty of toasted bread cubes, grilled sausage rounds and sliced apples and pears.
For a lighter variation, heat olive oil with some garlic cloves, a couple of anchovy fillets (which melt away in the oil) and red-pepper flakes. Then use it to cook fresh veggies like zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms and peppers and thinly sliced meats or chunks of firm fish, like Oregon albacore. For dessert, chocolate fondue is a no-brainer with fresh or dried fruits.
Celebratory toasts (or drowning sorrows) require cocktails. The Star-Telegram came up with these.
The Red State
1 ounce Grey Goose L’Orange vodka
1⁄2 ounce Bols Apricot brandy
4 muddled cranberries (can be frozen)
3 ounces New Age Sparkling Red Wine or 1 ounce ginger ale
Shake the vodka, brandy and cranberries over ice. Top with the sparkling red wine or ginger ale. Stir in a rocks glass.
Makes 1 drink.
The Blue State
1 1⁄2 ounces Oxley Gin
1⁄2 ounce Bols Blue Curacao
1⁄4 ounce Luxardo maraschino liqueur
1⁄2 ounce lemon juice
1⁄2 ounce simple syrup
1⁄27 ounce pineapple juice
Shake the ingredients over ice. Strain into a martini glass.
Makes 1 drink.