Niagara Gazette


November 24, 2012

Election Day cake perfect for Christmas, too

Niagara Gazette — Election evening, Day Nine Sandy Hurricane time, and you could stand on Beach Channel Drive by the bay and see the Emerald City of Manhattan twinkling in the distance. Over there, they had light. Over there, they had warmth. Over there, people were gathering in swell apartments to eat brie, drink merlot, and watch the election returns, to learn if Rockaway’s despair had indeed swayed the vote.” — Mark Jacobson, New York magazine.

With my many relatives in New Jersey, New York and Delaware, victims of Sandy’s force, we are so weary.

We are tired of the economy, tired of politics, tired of texting and tweeting and blogging and cellphones.

Climate change once again is our consuming issue, and our attention is drawn to the marital scandal at the CIA, a fiscal battle, an immigration bill, an international crisis. ...

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said that Sandy will cost our state alone more than $33 billion, and harder to measure is the human toll around the world, the lives and communities disrupted and destroyed.

And we are hopeful of a better holiday this Christmas, with the prayer that we can come home renewed and ready for another round of life in the 21st century — a serious time with gentle pursuits and the hope of peace on earth, good will toward men.

Reflecting on bygone, equally difficult times, we remember the stories of our grandparents telling us about American traditions such as the recipe for the famous election cake.

Election cake has been served on Election Day since the early 1800s in a mercifully more serene time set in a mosaic of a peaceful nation with gratifying pursuits.

Election cake was traditionally baked to serve farmers who had left their fields for a few days to journey into town to vote.

The first known recipe for election cake, one of the first foods to be identified with American politics, was published as early as 1796, in Amelia Simmons’ “American Cooking” cookbook, in the 1800s.

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