Many years ago, when I still had a full-time job in the travel and tourism world, I went to a conference dedicated to culinary tourism. While there, I sat through a session in which someone said, “No matter what a traveler’s unique interests might be, they always have to eat. Food unifies and transcends.”
I think about that quote a lot, but with the word traveler replaced with the word person. We all have to eat. And when we eat together, the sharing of that nourishment (whether it be a snack or a full meal) does have the power to both unify and transcend.
There have been some really hard, painful things happening lately in our world. Both individuals and communities are feeling broken and fragmented. More than ever, we are looking for ways to come back together and remember our humanity. For many of us, the act of preparing and sharing food can be part of this healing.
With Election Day rapidly approaching here in the US, it seems the perfect time to be civic minded and engage in some much-needed culinary healing. To that end, let me tell you about my friend Kim’s campaign to bring back the tradition of Election Day Cakes (read the story she originally wrote on the subject).
These cakes were originally prepared for people who had to travel long distances to vote. In this modern era, our polling places are typically relatively close to home, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no need for a slice of cake. The traditional Election Day Cake is a yeasted round that is lightly sweetened and studded with raisins and nuts, but other cakes are welcome to apply.
Next week, bake something and take it to your local polling place. Tell your colleagues you’ll bring treats for everyone wearing an “I Voted” sticker. Offer something sweet to your neighbors. Follow the Election Day Cake Instagram account. And make sure to vote!
Thank you, Marisa. It’s a lovely tradition. There are so many of us holding our breath as election day approaches. Honoring and respecting those who work at the polls and those who come out to vote is a perfect way to start the healing.
That sounds like the beginning of a fun tradition whether at home with family or at the polling place.
Thank you for this post, Marisa, and for your intention to bring kindness and nourishment to a process that has been painful for so many.
Thank you for the history and recipe! I’ll be making one to share too.