For nearly a year now, the 2016 election has pulled our collective focus. The whirlwhind season has been full of breakout stories and stellar soundbites, demanding attention with the force of a stick-up man. Today, it all come to an end — as so many of the interwoven narratives we’ve been following fade to black.
It’s about damn time. Stress is through the roof, tempers are flaring, and nerves have been rubbed raw. We all need a break. We need… a snack. Comfort food. Something to get the endorphins flowing. On the eve of election day, we asked our staff what they’d be eating to power through the campaign’s final stretch, they took the chance to sound off on food, fatigue, and all the things they won’t miss about this cycle.
Kimberly Ricci: Popcorn and Burritos
Election night will be an extension of the past sixteen months of my daily existence, and I’m going to be the big buzzkill here, but surprise! Food has not been a big focus for me this year with all of the on-call news going down. SO, I’ve blocked some stretches of time for eating like a mofo this weekend and partaking in a generous amount of tequila during a pathetic celebration (no matter who wins), but on Tuesday? A lady has to keep her energy up, so it’s gonna be a bunch of crunchy veggies to keep the oral fixation satisfied and then — lameness — Diet Coke, smoothies, popcorn, and burritos. Ask me next week how the real food thing went over the weekend. I will likely gain a few pounds after peeling this laptop away from my body and carb loading for an upcoming race. Wait a second, is the News Editor avoiding discussing politics in a lighthearted food piece? Damn straight.
I talk about this stuff every day already. Go team.
Jason Tabrys: Chinese Takeout
I’m as excited about writing about election day results as I am to see this weeping boil of an election close up, so I’m going to be at my desk watching returns all night. And in the grand tradition of writer-types and politicos burning the midnight oil on TV and in films, I’m going to have to get Chinese takeout and Kung Pao. Jason loves his spicy chicken, but I also want to arrange the cardboard cartons around my desk in an effort to prove to all who walk by me that I am so deeply immersed in my work that I could only eat the most easily attainable food. Also, I think I need to time it right so that I’m eating a dumpling with chopsticks when my eyes widen and I see that [CANDIDATE X] has won [PRECINCT Y] in [SWING STATE Z] to ensure victory.
Because if we’ve learned nothing about politics, it’s that optics matter.
Delenda Joseph: Mozarella Sticks
I’m so happy this shit is nearly over. The past year and a half has been absolutely tortuous for me, a black woman, having to choose between Donald “The Blacks” Trump and Hillary “Superpredators” Clinton and witnessing Trump make it as far as he did. Having to deal with the headlines, the quotes, the tweets the soundbites. Every single thing. Every single day. Non-stop.
In fact, this election has taught me that I am way stronger than I give myself credit for. There were times where I for sure thought I was going to just go ahead and leave this earth in a bid to escape all the election porn. Things got testy a number of times, especially during the debates, but I did it. I made it to election day and I plan on making it the rest of the way with all the goddamn mozzarella sticks I can shove down my gullet. Mozzarella sticks and marinara sauce for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight snack. It’s also my go-to when binge-watching my favorite shows and that’s me at peak happiness.
Hopefully, the mozzy sticks will provide great comfort today, as I brace myself for four years of more fuckery.
Mark Shrayber: Taco Bell
On this election day, there’s only one thing I’m grateful for — and that’s the fact that Taco Bell will deliver a truckload of food directly to my house as long as I agree to pay an exorbitant delivery fee. Usually, I have to pretend that the five cheese roll-ups, the potato tacos, the bean and cheese burritos, the quesalupas, the gorditas, and the Diet Coke (they only have Pepsi, though, which I always forget) is something I’m going to share with my four roommates and their significant others (they don’t exist, I live with my husband), but not today.
Today I am going to drop $60 on questionable fast food, take a full bar of xanax (I’ve earned it), and watch the election results pour in like a true American — drooling and with nacho cheese all over my motherfucking chins.
Caleb Reading: Gummi Bears & Scotch
I am on a low-sugar diet. But I am also transgender and gay, facing the possibility that Donald Trump will appoint Supreme Court justices who will further cement my second class citizenship into the law, and that Mike Pence — who wants tax dollars to fund gay conversion therapy, who proposed diverting HIV prevention funds to gay conversion therapy for kids, and other hateful bullsh*t — could gain the Vice Presidency and whip up even more hatred for LGBT Americans which may lead to my murder. This is a rational fear for a transgender person; we get murdered all the time, while the American government has taken everyone’s guns away precisely… zero times. People who are afraid of things that aren’t going to happen may vote to ensure my life is a very real and present hell, perhaps brutally cut short by violence stoked by politicians who think this is all just a fun little thought experiment.
Therefore, I have eaten chicken cordon bleu, mixed vegetables, two bowls of cereal, a latte, chocolate, and, like, six gummi bears and some scotch. It is not 9 am yet.
Ben Esch: Not Chili
My suggestion for the best food for your election viewing party is any food that is not chili. I say this because I am both:
A) Going to an election party that features chili.
B) Not assertive enough to tell the host/chili chef of the party that perhaps a slightly less gastro-intestinally-challenging food should be featured on the menu.
This is not an attack on chili. Chili is delicious. Chili is always delicious. There is a reason why that beany-meat (or meaty-meat, or beany-bean, depending) has been a staple of our national diet, from the fireside cauldrons that fueled cowboys to do cowboy things, to the snack shack chili dogs that give little league baseball players the energy to disappoint their fathers; the United States of America is a mighty engine that is fueled by beans and meat and, preferably, corn bread.
On Tuesday night, as our guts process the nerves of waiting to learn the future of that great American engine, let us not further burden our already overburdened digestive systems with a foodstuff that has provedn consistently ruinous of our insides, even when the future of the free world is not at stake.
Though, in fairness, an evening of anxiety farts and lingering shame does seem like the most fitting end for this election season.
Alia Stearns: Bite-Sized Candy
As election day is positioned so beautifully after Halloween and I got 7 pounds of Halloween candy and one group of trick-or-treaters, I have been stress eating bite size candy bars. Of course, I had moments of self-awareness and tried to limit my intake of tiny treats, but they have proven insidious. Every time I turn around, I am cleaning drifts of shiny, metallic wrappers off my desk with very little memory of having inhaled handfuls of miniature Snickers and Milky Ways. My garbage cans are overflowing with evidence of my gluttony and I haven’t even voted yet.
There is an irksome voice in the back of my head that questions how I will cope when the giant candy bowl is at last empty, but I push it aside because the answer may be full-sized candy.
Across the street from my apartment, there sits a hole-in-the-wall Chinese fast food joint called “Food Wall.” It keeps odd (but late) hours, makes quick batches of fried rice and lo mien that (Anthony Bourdain’s disapproval notwithstanding) are dirt cheap, and is owned by a Vietnamese family with Korean in-laws. The salt contained therein is enough to kill the world’s slug population 10 times over, but you know what? I really, really like salt.
I also love frugal Southeast Asian cuisine and, unlike the Republican nominee, porous borders. Especially when they concern the gastronomic and cultural ones we Americans place around (or rip away from) our favorite sinful eats. So I’ll be shoveling Food Wall’s lo mien noodles into my mouth while flipping between CNN, Fox News, and the local news throughout voting day.
The hard-earned American dollars I spend to do business with a local American business in my small American neighborhood of Boston won’t distract me from the election. Instead, they’ll remind me that the multicultural fast food joint across the street is just as American as Donald Trump’s favorite pre-cooked brand of Walmart-sold apple pie.
Zach Johnston: Chilean Wine
Chilean wine. Like, all night. I’m going to make sure they’re all twist off — because corks just take way too long to pull when you have to temper anxious nerves. I can’t be dealing with corkscrews and the possibility of a broken cork due to my hand shaking. As far as the kind of wine, let’s just say “the kind that gets you drunk.” I hope to be at least 2-3 bottles in by the time the results are announced so that I’ll either be ready to celebrate with some champers, or fall into a drunken coma with a bottle of whiskey.
Somewhere along the way a big Islamic shwarma will be eaten to soak up the gloriously dangerous amounts of Latino wine sloshing around my stomach. Take that, Trump.
Christian Long: Scrounged Up Candy
As much as I’d like to sit here and say that election night 2016 is the ideal night to sit down and compulsively binge on what’s left of your leftover Halloween candy, realistically there’s very little chance you have anything left more than a week after Oct 31st. So do the next best thing and hit up the barren remains of the half-off Halloween candy shelf. Depending on where you go, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to forage through some Christmas decorations to find it. Once you do, your options are going to be limited to some mocha latte Peeps and pumpkin spice candy corn, along with a packet or two of fake-blood capsules (they’re glucose based, so IT COUNTS).
Anyway, point being, buy what you can, this isn’t the time to be picky. Once you’ve chosen from your likely meager selection, take everything home, open the bags, and start gorging. As we’ve all seen these last (counts on fingers) 16 or so months, tonight promises to be a real nail-biter, so give your nails a break and watch those electoral college votes tally up while you shove your face full of the Halloween candy that no one wanted.
Considering that this election fills me with staggering anxiety, and I tend to solve my anxiety problems by gorging on junk food and guzzling booze, my food of choice will be chili cheese tater tots. It’s the perfect mix of healthy and unhealthy, because you can justify eating an entire plate thanks to the fiber, protein, and the fact that pickled jalapenos and fresh scallions are totally vegetables; but the deep fried potatoes and rich cheese ensure you feel the warm comfort that temporarily wards off dread.
Pair these with a bottle of Canadian Club and you can drift off into a blissful coma, the pants-crapping terror of nominating a game show host for President held, ever so slightly, at bay.
I am genuinely terrified with how the election results are going to play out, so I’m going in the Last Meal direction of face stuffing. I’ll begin with four S’more Pop Tarts wrapped in Popeyes chicken skin and chase it with malt liquor because this world can be a kind and accommodating place. Follow that up with some “All Dressed” chips from my Canadian compound, a bit of candy and a lot of booze and I should be all set.
Oh, also if someone could be so kind as to let me know which 5 cent candies fentanyl pairs best with, that’d be great.