There’s something festive about election season. Is it the spirit of competition? The televised events with enormous audiences? Even as disagreements between political parties are highlighted, Americans are unified in their care and concern for the future of their country. The time is right to get your friends together for a debate or election night party. Check the debate schedule and start ordering some bunting, because we have party ideas that will make your uncle’s annual Super Bowl Party look like a study group.
First things first: invite people! Print a ballot on cardstock and distribute them to your friends’ campus mailboxes. Your friends will have to vote (RSVP) to attend—here’s to a 100% turnout rate.
Nothing says American politics like balloons and bunting. You can order red, white, and blue bunting online for super cheap, and Amazon sells packs of patriotic balloons. Confetti is a little too aggressive, unless you’re willing to still be finding pieces in your couch in 2016. Save some balloons in a trash bag and dump them when the result is announced. Celebratory and (static aside) mess-free #winning.
Cracker Jacks: Is there anything more American than Cracker Jacks? The popcorn and peanut snack was introduced in 1893 at the first Chicago World’s Fair—which means it’s lasted 22 US presidents. Give each guest their own red, white, and blue box to snack on while their eyes are glued to the TV for the debate or precinct reports.
Campaign Button Cupcakes: Campaign buttons are a tried and true way to advertise your favorite presidential candidate. A quick eBay search turns up many vintage pins—some now pricey collectors’ items. Cupcakes at your debate or election party can be both a snack and an activity if you ask guests to decorate the round tops like a real or imagined campaign button for their favorite candidate. Use a recipe for carrot or hazelnut cupcakes for a rich fall flavor. Serve them with red, white, and blue cream cheese frosting and bring some frosting tubes for very precise decorators. Red licorice shoelaces, blue sugar sprinkles, and Red Hots are some candies that would work well for this activity. Cupcakes not your thing? If you want to get really fancy with a dessert, there’s always Strawberries Romanoff, a light berries and cream dessert. The following oh-so-sophisticated recipe comes from the Kennedy White House and the French chef hired by style icon Jackie Kennedy:
Strawberries Romanoff from the Kennedy’s White House Luncheon with Princess Grace:
1 cup vanilla ice cream
4 cups halved small strawberries
2 tbsp each curacao and Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
1/2 cup whipping cream?1 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Candied violets or mint leaves
Place ice cream in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until soft enough to smooth easily with the back of a spoon.
Meanwhile, place the strawberries in large bowl. Pour curacao and Grand Marnier over berries; stir gently to combine. Let stand for 30 minutes.
In large chilled bowl and using electric mixer, beat whipping cream at low speed for 45 seconds or until slightly thickened. Add sugar and vanilla; increase speed to medium-high and beat for three minutes, or until thick.
In large bowl, stir softened ice cream with wooden spoon until soft. Using rubber spatula, fold dollop of whipped cream into ice cream. Add remaining whipped cream and fold gently until well combined.
Into each of the chilled glass dessert bowls, spoon enough strawberries to just cover bottom. Top with large dollop of cream mixture, then divide remaining berries, and any juices, among bowls.
Distribute remaining cream equally. Garnish each dish with candied violets or mint leaves. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.
Tips: If strawberries are large, cut into quarters. Candied violets can be purchases at most upscale grocers or cake decorating shops.