So the presidential debate is on after all! And I know the number one question on your mind is not "how will McCain's fiscal policies differ from Bush's?" or "how will Obama deal with the Iran question?" but rather, "what to eat?"
Well, I've got a few suggestions for snacks, based on the candidate's own favorite foods and studies of Democratic and Republican food habits. Serve all the food on blue and red plates and make a game out of it. When one candidate makes a winning point, you eat a snack from the opposite party. When McCain corners Obama into admitting the troop surge in Iraq was successful, you eat a Democratic snack. When Obama says "McCain" and "Big Oil" in the same sentence, eat a red snack. Whichever side has more snacks left at the end wins!
1. Obama, having lived in Chicago for most of his life, enjoys the city's famous deep dish pizza. Turn pizza into a snack with this Food Network recipe for pizza bites. But keep it All-American by subbing out the mascarpone for some less-exotic mozzarella cheese. Add pineapple for a Hawaiian-childhood flair! McCain loves the Tex-Mex cuisine of his native Arizona. Serve these burriquitas (mini burritos) with a side of salsa (but not too spicy - you don't want to appear volatile).
2. According to Urbanspoon's "steak/sushi index", you can predict which cities skew more Democratic or Republican based solely on their number of sushi (Democrat) or steak (Republican) restaurants. So bust out the sushi mat and roll yourself some Obama Rolls (fried eggplant and fresh spinach). Throw some red meat to the Repubs with these steak and potato kebabs from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
3. McCain supporters are said to favor Hardees and family dining chains like Fuddruckers. Copious amounts of ground beef, anyone? Make your Republican burgers bite-sized, with this Emeril Lagasse recipe for sirloin sliders with bacon. Obama fans go for mall favorites like the Cheesecake Factory and Panera Bread. Try this copycat recipe of the Cheesecake Factory's famous (infamous?) fried macaroni and cheese balls.
4. Obama is known to brag about his famous chili. He's even provided America with the recipe, which you can snack-ify by serving it in mini bread cups. Cindy McCain's family recipe farfalle pasta with turkey sausage and mushrooms (Copyright the Food Network) doesn't make great finger food, so try a riff on lemon chicken (her real favorite, according to the Guardian) instead - serve cold lemon chicken salad on crackers or slices of baguette instead.
Tip: Keep some nice sorbet in the freezer to use as a palate cleanser whenever an nauseous homily about "small-town values" and "not playing politics" makes you throw up a little in your mouth. I like Bon Appetit's lemon buttermilk version.
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