Food - Drink
The Celebratory Food Served In Honor Of America's Earliest Elections
By AUTUMN SWIERS
Election Day was once as important as Thanksgiving, and in the olden days Election Day festivities were a form of colonial food tourism. Elections were held in the center of towns, meaning folks had to travel to vote, creating the opportunity to have a party and celebrate with distant friends — usually with a special treat called election cake.
Election cakes were dense, leavened cakes made with sourdough starters, and the first iterations were massive fruitcakes, with one 1796 recipe calling for 12 pounds of raisins and 30 quarts of flour. They were historically made by female home cooks who weren’t allowed to vote, but would use election cakes to encourage male voters to vote according to their interests.
The colonial festivities of Election Day brought communities together to eat, drink, chat, and play games, but they disappeared along with the election cake in the 1820’s as public opinion around elections (and fruitcake) became more divisive. Still, there’s something to be gained from the memory of American elections being a time of togetherness.