“On this Election Day, I offer your attention to something that people of all political persuasions could probably agree on—the healing power of food.”
Certainly, this has been the most contentious election in memory. Clinton v. Trump will be one for the record books for sure. Never have I seen such discord in a presidential election; interestingly, I seem to say that every four years.
That doesn’t mean this level of rancor never existed. Remember, the entire South left the Union after Lincoln was elected. Our history is full of examples of times when our civil discourse was much less civil during elections. So we should put things in perspective.
On this Election Day, I offer your attention to something that people of all political persuasions could probably agree on—the healing power of food. First, regardless if it is “right” or not, eating comfort food physiologically makes you feel better. The chemical reactions produce endorphins (or something like that) and Boom! You feel better. Food makes you feel better emotionally too. Bread and butter or grandma’s lasagna take you back to another time and can be the equivalent of a nurturing hug when you really need it. If you decide you will celebrate (or drown your sorrows) in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, a box of Entenmanns’s Chocolate Chip Iced Cake, or a rib eye steak the size of your head, I am not going to judge. I firmly and unabashedly approve of the message that there is a palliative effect to eating. Go for it.
After the hangover of celebration (or mourning), we have to decide as a country what to do next. We simply can’t all move to Canada, nor can we take up arms in insurrection. That’s not what we do. Everyone who voted loves their country and wants to us to be better tomorrow than we are today. We simply have different views on how to get there. In the coming days, weeks, months, and years, we have to figure out how we are going to do that. Every other time, we have managed, somehow, to come together. We have to do that again. There is no alternative.
A Modest Proposal
In a recent interview for the soon-to-be-released Guys and Food podcast, I spoke with Ken Haedrich. He is a cookbook author and an authority on pie. He described pie as more than a combination of ingredients encased in a crust. It’s a food that brings people together.
“You set a pie out on the table with a diverse crowd group of people and all of the other differences sort of melt away. It doesn’t matter what your political persuasion is or your religion, or anything like that. All of sudden it’s ‘pie’ and everybody loves one another.”
So if you and your brother-in-law disagreed on who the next president should be or you were unfriended on Facebook by someone who thought your candidate was not the best fit, take a breath and invite them over for some pie. The mere act of sharing that dessert can start healing your relationships and by extension, our country.
If pie is not your thing (I will judge you on this character flaw) and you want to bake something that is delicious and historically appropriate, I offer this recipe for Election Cake.
Election Cake has a long history in our country, having been served traditionally on, you guessed it, Election Day and other large gatherings. It is very similar to panettone in that it’s a sweet yeast bread stuffed with dried fruit. In this recipe, I used equal parts golden raisins, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, and citron. It’s also fortified with brandy and Madeira wine with more than a huge whiff of nutmeg. It is very tasty when toasted with a slather of unsalted butter. Give it a whirl! The recipe I used was from Greg Patent’s Baking in America. Here is a feature that was heard on NPR about that cookbook that includes the recipe for Election Cake. Note that, with three different risings of about two hours each(not including baking time) this takes a good part of the day to bake.
Note: While you’re sharing it with someone who didn’t vote for your candidate, try not to discuss political emails or the size of a particular candidate’s hands.