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What is America likely to eat on election night?

Early votes suggest pizza, ice cream, and several different types of mac and cheese could be on menus tonight.

What is America likely to eat on election night?
[Photo: Peter Bravo de los Rios/Unsplash; maja7777/Pixabay; rawpixel]
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While some tweets from early Election Day morning claimed there was no line to vote at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the same could not be said for nearby Trader Joe’s, where a socially distant line snaked around the corner soon after 8 a.m. Perhaps those New Yorkers who have voted early are now turning their thoughts to quelling election anxieties with comfort food.

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As viewers around the country tune in for hours-long sessions digesting complex electoral math, it’s likely they’ll be seeking some gastronomic solace. Around the country, it appears that nibbles on the more calorific side are the eats of choice for the night—and one voter didn’t even wait until the evening to stock up. At 11 a.m., ice cream fanatic Joe Biden reportedly made a purchase of ice cream sandwiches and a Dr Pepper.

Today, the New York Times Cooking homepage is filled with “comforting dishes to eat while the results roll in,” largely comprising all-American pub foods with global twists, including Indian-ish nachos, Mexican hot dogs, and Cantonese cream corn. There’s mac and cheese of many varieties: Southern, French onion, vegan. One of Houston’s local papers is suggesting Vietnamese shrimp spring rolls and apple pie popcorn; one of Portland’s, a pecan sheet cake, “cannabis chocolate optional.” There’s even an Election Cake, a Colonial-era fruit cake packed with raisins and pecans.

Personally I was at Trader Joe’s early to pick up ingredients for Philly cheesesteaks—with provolone, not Cheez Whiz. As Pennsylvania is the swingiest of the swing states, it seemed a pertinent theme.

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Other Fast Company writers and editors had different ideas, which they shared via a highly unscientific Slack poll this morning. One staff member is making extra-spicy mapo tofu, “for no other reason than I have a craving.” A photo editor will cook enchiladas with “indulgent sides,” to follow a snack of Tostitos Hint of Lime; another colleague will rely on heaps of leftover Halloween candy. But there was one clear winner from our very official poll: pizza, overwhelmingly declared to be “the proper election food.” Most who are opting for pizza will get delivery—as will the only editor who announced she’s having salad, from Sweetgreen, but with “Milkbar cookies as a chaser.”

If results from 2016 are a clue—results from delivery apps, that is—tonight will be another big night for restaurants that offer delivery. Postmates reported a 20% jump in food delivery on November 8, 2016, compared to the week prior. MarketWatch reported that DoorDash had a 46% increase in pizza orders and a 79% surge in cupcake orders. Different cities had different favorite orders: While New Yorkers ordered chips and salsa, coconut sticky rice, and Greek salad, Chicagoans opted for crab rangoon and chicken tikka masala. (Election night aside, Time also found that the most bipartisan food was spicy salmon rolls.)

Postmates also reported a 97% bump in alcohol delivery in 2016, especially as polls closed and Trump won Pennsylvania. This year, one Fast Company staff member is chilling a bottle of bubbly, and another will open a bottle of Whistlepig rye whiskey, no matter who wins. Another says every pint of ice cream should be complemented with three pints of beer.

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Many fast-food chains, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Krispy Kreme, are all too aware of the trends and are promising food specials. Still, the owner of a pizza restaurant in the swing state of Florida told Slate that she’s expecting “a pretty normal Tuesday night,” given that delivery apps ensure people are now able to order all the foods under the sun. (Just remember that if you do order delivery on this extra-busy night, you should tip generously.)

As some of us try to distract ourselves from the momentous vote counts ahead, one colleague still wasn’t ready to focus on the night’s menu. “I can’t think about food right now!” he said.