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Tonight's Debate Will Be Controversial: These 24 Snacks Will Not Be

October 18, 2016

This article was originally published the day of the first presidential debate. We're bringing it back to the homepage today because the third debate is likely to be just as divisive as the first.

The nation holds its breath in anticipation of tonight's presidential debate, the first, which is predicted to be the most-watched presidential debate in history, rivaling the numbers for what is usually the year's biggest television event: the Super Bowl. That makes this the Super Bowl of debates, in terms of viewers, yes, but also spectacle and drama and all-around ferocity.

But as the nation holds its breath, the nation also makes snacks to munch nervously from 9 P.M. E.S.T. onwards. These snacks serve the purpose of occupying our mouths, chewing a less risky activity than speaking.

If you're watching the debate in a public space, or in a private space among friends and family of different political leanings, it might be smart to put these snacks—rather than your foot—into your mouth. And since what's going down on the stage will be controversial enough, you may as well make snacks that will not spark their own conflicts. (No blue cheese or cilantro or fennel tonight.)

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But when I asked the Food52 editors what foods we can all agree on, we couldn't agree on anything. Not everyone like avocados or bananas or chocolate. Not even everyone likes cookies (meet our Design & Home Editor Amanda. Caroline dared a pancake-hater to stand; two did. Kenzi declared that everyone loves pie—and was proven wrong when Lindsay-Jean said she'd pass.

And in the end, the one "food" we could all agree on was water. So fill up a pitcher. Leave the ice on the side. (And maybe you'll want to put out some vodka and a couple of lemons or limes, too.)

These foods will please most (but not all!):

Potatoes, especially when they're fried (or taste like they've been fried). Serve them with multiple types of dip so that guests can choose!

Bread! Great for a crowd. Not so great for your gluten-free friends, sadly.

Lots of snack mix! Non-spicy and nut-free options will win you votes.

Chicken fingers, sure to keep the adults and the children satisfied. Vegetarians, look elsewhere.

Nachos*. Make some with salad; make some with chicken; please the people.

*Not taco bowls.

Rice is fairly neutral and takes well to many flavors and preparations.

If you hate tomatoes and prefer produce of the green variety (and lots of cheese), make it this way instead:

Ricotta softens the bite of the spicy and the sharp (but beware: some guests might be frightened by its cottage cheese-like appearance).

French toast sticks. Because there's no way we can agree on whether pancakes, French toast, or waffles rank highest on the sweet-breakfast-foods spectrum. (And hey, you could also make these savory—with cheese!).

Hummus and guacamole and salsa and onion dip. Right?

And not everyone likes brownies, so make blondies too.

Let your guests vote on what kind of cereal to use as the base of these crispy cereal treats (we recommend forgoing the Electoral College system).

It's hard to get riled up about fudge, especially when it comes in many flavors. (I'm sure many of you will disagree.)

What will you be eating during tonight's debate? Tell us in the comments! And for more answers and ideas, turn to the Hotline.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • BerryBaby
  • Lynn D.
    Lynn D.
  • michelle
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


BerryBaby September 26, 2016
We had a fabulous pizza. And then, a mini chocolate mint cupcake with chocolate frosting, frozen of course! :) BB
Lynn D. September 26, 2016
I'll probably have antacids or valium with tonight's debate.
michelle September 26, 2016
This is a great, balanced article, and I look forward to trying many of these recipes in the future. Thanks for posting!