A Nonpartisan Look at Election Night Food

Given how closely watched the 2012 U.S. elections have been, I found myself wondering how we’re all going to cope with election night food issues tomorrow evening. 

Watching election returns can be a long night.  Especially if you start tracking the returns when polls close on the east coast and stay up until the coverage winds down (hopefully with a winner and not with a protracted battle over the results) – you’re in for a long haul. What will you eat?  If you’re hosting others, what will you serve? 

I’d rather think about these weighty issues than listen to another PAC commercial or read about another rally in a swing state I don’t live in.  And I found them easier to talk about than politics right now.  Before I knew it, I was crowd sourcing this blogpost.

Election night food dilemmas are nonpartisan and we all have to eat.  Even those who said they will be too nervous to eat soon gave up on that hard core stance and began offering food suggestions.  The presidential races and many others are so close that, no matter whom you favor, you really can’t be sure if watching returns will end up as a celebration or a wake.   You can keep champagne or sparkling cider in the fridge until the last moment, but you're going to want something to eat before you know whether you'll be drinking it. 


Here are the first folks who helped me find out what foods folks want to eat on election night.

Then other friends, Facebook fans of MotherWouldKnow, tweeps, and various assorted other people weighed in. Perhaps not surpisingly, people were anxious to talk about food, regardless of their political beliefs or level of interest (or lack thereof) in tomorrow evening's results.  

Election Night Food 


  • Different foods at different times – As one respondent said "pace yourself."  Don't start out with the culinary equivalent of the finale at the July 4th fireworks, when hours of watching (and eating) lay ahead. 
  • High Energy/Semi-nutritious food – The need to get at least a modicum of healthy food before succumbing to chocolate and booze was important to several respondents. 
  • Comfort food – Whether they are stress eaters or just love mac ‘n cheese, lots of folks mentioned the need to have comfort food. What it is may depend on your age and where you grew up  - do your guests have the same tastes in comfort food as you do?
  • Finger foods –They are are easy-to-eat mindlessly as you sit glued to the TV, computer or radio.   My own nomination for most interesting finger food is roasted brussel sprouts  - Although some may prefer a toothpick, I think they qualify as a tasty, simple, and nutritious finger food.  

Specific Election Night Foods

  • Small meatballs – Try this recipe, just make them smaller and cook for a shorter time.
  • Apple pie – Mentioned by several as being the ultimate all-American party food.
  • Deviled eggs – Great finger food.
  • Chili and cornbread - If you make the chili in a slow cooker, it can stay hot all night long.
  • Mashed sweet potatoes – Comfort food anyone?
  • Hummus served with pita (maybe homemade pita chips) and cut-up vegetables
  • Creative popcorn – You can make it in a wok.  How about savory popcorn?
  • Cheese and fruit jam – I love goat cheese and a fig/olive mixture called tapenade too. 
  • Fresh figs stuffed with blue cheese - easy.
  • Kale chips - yes, they're addictive.

Cookies and milk at midnight

chocolate cookies and milk

In other words, what are you going to serve as the evening hits its climax - or nadir - depending on how the returns go and who you are rooting for?  

Great Food and Fun Ideas to Pass the Time

  • Create your own waffles and pancakes with all the fixings.
  • Small pre-baked pie shells with fixings for do-it-yourself pies (apples, nuts, dried fruit, cinnamon and sugar, etc.)
  • Red, white, and blue food – one person suggested red meat and blue cheese, but you should be able to get vegetarians in on this too.
  • Add your own topping pizzas
  • Make your own cookies or cupcakes with pre-made batter and lots of potential decorations.

What Do You Want to Eat on Election Night? 

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