Celebrate the vote with an election party
Sunday, November 2, 2008
This year’s hotly contested presidential race has garnered lots of interest — from debated issues, outrageous comedy skits and fashion commentary.
Anytime the political parties come together for a night of passionate discourse, we’re inspired to throw a political party of our own.
Tuesday is the perfect night to celebrate all things election. Invite the gang over to follow the returns and have a little fun along the way.
We’ve pulled together appropriate snacks, drinks and activities to keep the evening humming along nicely.
Here’s the plan: Map it
Use a map to track the candidates’ state-by-state progress in accumulating electoral college votes. Mark the states in red or blue as they’re called or simply circle those that went for your preferred candidate. You can download an outline map of all 50 states on the Internet at www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/atlas/index.html and selecting the United States of America from the pulldown menu of locations.
What are the odds?
A little friendly betting heightens the excitement. Ask your guests for their predictions on the following questions. Award prizes to the winners.
• What color will the wives will be wearing while they wait for the results? Will the candidates opt for full-press business suits, shirts and ties or take off their ties and jackets and roll up their sleeves?
• What time will the losing candidate will make his concession speech?
• What will the “point spread” be for the electoral college count when the loser concedes?
• How long will it be from the end of the concession speech until the first pundit begins speculating on the 2012 election?
• Which state’s results will decide the race?
• Wouldn’t it be great to have the candidates attend your election night party? You can at least pretend they’re there with life-sized Barack Obama and John McCain cardboard look-a-likes. One benefit over hosting the real candidates — you won’t have to listen to them argue about the issues all evening. Just stand them in opposite
• The color scheme has to include red, white, and blue. These Old Glory-inspired plates ($3.49), cups
• Other napkins are more pointed left or right with the Republican and Democratic signifiers. $4.99 a pack at Papermart.
• Dress your cheese plate and cocktails with patriotic flair with miniature pinwheels ($1.99 for a package of 10) — all the hot air should keep them spinning — and tiny flags toothpicks ($1.99 for pack of 40). Both from Giant Eagle.
• Traditional-looking skimmer hats made of Styrofoam rather than straw can be worn by revelers. These offer a political take with elephants or donkeys. $1.69 at Papermart.
• For the more flamboyant, recommend over-size felt Uncle Sam Hats with an elephant or donkey. $28.99 each at Halloween Express.
• For party favors, we love these plush elephant and donkey Pez dispensers. $2.99 each at Kmart.
You’re likely to work up an appetite while following election coverage and rooting for your favorite
But why not celebrate the candidate’s differences with a buffet of foods that celebrate the geographical
Republican candidate Sen. John McCain lives in Phoenix, Ariz., so offer a selection of Southwestern
• A sampler of salsas in two or three levels of spiciness plus both bowls of blue and yellow corn
• Use your favorite recipe to make a batch of chili. Set out condiments for personalizing it –
• Purchase and heat up some pre-made tamales or enchiladas.
• Ice up a cooler full of Arizona Iced Tea
• The Joy Cone company has two U.S. plants, one in nearby Hermitage, Mercer County, and a second in
Democratic candidate Sen. Barak Obama lives in Chicago, which also has an abundance of local food
• Cracker Jack, which the public first tasted at the first Chicago World’s Fair — also called the World
• Chicago-style hot dogs. Cook up some all-beef hot dogs and assemble the items that make it an official
• Purchase and heat up one or more pre-made Chicago-style deep-dish pizzas.
• Eli’s Cheesecake is a Chicago favorite. You can order one online, buy a locally made stand-in or make your own.
• Baskin-Robbins also offers an ice cream flavor for Obama supporters — Whirl of Change (peanut-nougat ice cream whirled with chunks of chocolate-covered peanut brittle and a caramel ribbon).
The first rule for an election party is to fill the room with lots of TV sets so you can guarantee
But during those sluggish times, switch to one of these presidential flicks available on video and
“Wag the Dog”:
Pin the …
Get extra use out of your stand-up candidates by playing Pin the Flag Pin on the Candidate.
Affix tape to the little toothpick flags, blindfold the player, spin and send toward the
The person who tapes the flag closest to the lapel wins.
You might try a variation on the classic drinking game called “Hi, Bob!” where friend gather to watch
This time around,
By the way, at the end of the night, conduct your own exit poll and make sure your guests are sober enough
• “The only poll that matters is the one tonight”
• “The middle class”
• “Election cycle”
• “Early voting”
• “Spread the wealth around”
• “Bridge to nowhere”
• “Key precincts have not yet reported”
• “This race is too close to call.”
• “His message resonated with voters”
• “The voters have spoken”
• “They elected him, but they’re also sending him a message”
• “Key endorsement”
It’s a privilege and a right to vote, but sometimes there are benefits to casting a ballot.
• Eat ‘n Park restaurants continue a long-standing tradition of offering a free cup of coffee to every
• For something sweet with that coffee, Krispy Kreme will give out one star-shaped donut with red,
• And, if the election has you tied up in knots, Pratique Yoga in Lawrenceville has the solution: Bring in a
McCormick & Schmick’s
Love on the Ba-racks
• 3/4 ounce lemon juice
• 1/4 ounce orange juice
• 3/4 ounce simple syrup
• 1/2 ounce Blue Curacao
• 1/4 ounce peach schnapps
• 1/4 ounce Malibu Rum
• Cherry, for garnish
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice. Shake it several times. Strain the drink into glass filled with fresh ice. Top the drink with a splash of Sprite. Garnish with a cherry.
• 3/4 ounce raspberry puree
• 3/4 ounce lemon juice
• 1/4 ounce simple syrup
• 3/4 ounce Stoli Raspberry Vodka
• 3/4 ounce Chambord
• Long lemon twist, for garnish
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice. Shake it several times. Strain the drink into
Election Day sweets
In the early days of this country, polling places were sparsely located. Colonists would need to travel
“The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink” reports that Election Day Cake is a yeast-raised
The original version is something of a cross between bread and a cake, more like a less-dense English
Chef-Instructor Alison McLoughlin of The Culinary Institute of America charged her students to create
Election Day Cake
• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
• 1/2 cup water
• 1 1/2 cups dried fruit, including cranberries, golden raisins, and blueberries
• 1/2 cup American whisky
• 1/2 cup warm water
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 package (3/4 ounce) rapid-rise yeast
• 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour, sifted
• Vegetable cooking spray, for coating the pan
• All-purpose flour, for coating the pan
• 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and softened
• 3 eggs
• 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Combine 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar with the water in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium-high
Place the dried fruit in a large bowl. Add the sugar mixture and whisky; stir and set aside.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the warm water and milk.
Mix the yeast into 1 cup of whole-wheat flour and combine it with the milk mixture. Sprinkle the
Lightly spray and flour an 8-inch tube pan.
Sift together the remaining dry ingredients and set aside.
Drain the fruit mixture; reserve the syrup for later use on the cake and in a glaze.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and the remaining 1 cup of
Turn the mixer to low speed and add the sponge (flour and yeast mixture); mix until fully combined.
Place the batter in the pan, cover, and set in a warm area to allow the cake to rise, approximately 1
Meanwhile, prepare the glaze: In a medium-size bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons
After the batter has risen, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cake for 45 to 60 minutes, or
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and transfer it to a wire rack
Makes: one 10-inch cake.
• 1. Who was the first president to be born in a hospital?
• 2. What president was a schoolteacher before entering politics?
• 3 .Who was the only president to receive an Emmy Award?
• 4. What president’s Secret Service nickname was “Rawhide”?
• 5. Which president harbored an ambition to conduct a symphony orchestra?
• 6. Which president was elected by the margin of one electoral vote?
• 7. Which president received every electoral college vote but one?
• 8. Who was the only president sworn into office by his father?
• 9. Which president regularly took morning swims in the nude in the Potomac River?
• 10. Who was the first president born as a U.S. citizen?
• 11. How many presidents survived assassination attempts while in office?
• 12. The first president to see a baseball game was …
1. Jimmy Carter
2. Lyndon B. Johnson
3 .Dwight D. Eisenhower (in 1956, the Governor’s Award, for his use and encouragement of television)
4. Ronald Reagan
5. Richard Nixon
6. Rutherford B. Hayes, 1876
7. James Monroe, 1820
8. Calvin Coolidge, 1923
9. John Quincy Adams
10. Martin Van Buren, born in 1782
11. Six — Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan
12. Benjamin Harrison, 1892