How to Host an Election Night Potluck Party

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No matter whether your political beliefs lean to the left or to the right, we all can agree on two things: This year’s campaign cycle has been particularly contentious; and yet, we can always rely on one thing to hold our great republic together — and that’s great food. If you’re hosting an election party, consider making it a potluck. What better way is there to practice diplomacy in our own homes than to put our heads together and create a menu that appeals to everyone at the table? We can’t think of one. Better yet, give a nod to our nation’s great eats by featuring native foods from each of the United States’ eight regions. Here are a few of our favorite shareable recipes that will cover all of your bases.

Mid-Atlantic: Crab

Maryland is known for its crab — and specifically its blue crab — but all of the Mid-Atlantic states uphold the crustacean as a local delicacy. Rep the region with homemade crab cake sliders, and don’t forget the Old Bay seasoning.

Get the recipe: Crab Cake Sliders with Blood Orange Aioli

Anne-Burrell_New-England-Clam-Chowder

New England: Clams

Loaded with potatoes, onions and plump briny clams, this cream-based chowder is a New England favorite, thanks to the region’s rich history of clam digging — a process during which clams are harvested from deep in the shoreline sands. If you decide to stir up a batch for your potluck, don’t even think about including tomatoes. In 1939, a bill was introduced in the Maine legislature that would make the inclusion of tomatoes in clam chowder illegal. Much to its sponsors’ chagrin, it did not pass.

Get the recipe: New England Clam Chowder

Great Lakes: Cheese

Wisconsin holds the unofficial title of America’s Cheese Capital, but the entire Great Lakes region has incredible fromage to offer. Celebrate our proliferation of dairy with a crowd-pleasing batch of macaroni and cheese thickened with butter, grated cheddar and whole milk.

Get the recipe: Macaroni and Cheese

Southeast: Barbecue

Next to politics, Americans’ favorite topic to debate is the best style of barbecue. Across all 50 states — notably in Texas and Kansas City — you’ll encounter slow-cooked meat that’s so tender and so smoky it will bring you to your knees. But the South’s predominant variations — the Carolina, Kentucky and Memphis styles — continually rank at the top of the heap. Pork marinated in a zippy, vinegar-based sauce is a regional favorite.

Get the recipe: Pulled Pork Sliders

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Plains: Corn

Anyone who’s passed through the Plains understands the vastness of our nation’s corn-growing industry, as the region is brimming with field after field of tall, gold-and-green corn stalks. We would be remiss not to include something corn-based in the menu. Stick with a classic that everyone will enjoy nibbling as the votes get tallied: homemade kettle corn tossed in cinnamon, sugar and ground cayenne pepper.

Get the recipe: Spiced Kettle Corn

Rocky Mountains: Bison

Up in the Rockies, game meats such as bison, venison and lamb are all staples of the regional cuisine. For a taste of real cowboy cooking, serve some mini meatballs made with lean ground bison — though, if that’s hard to find at your local grocery store, beef works just as well.

Get the recipe: Buffalo-Buffalo Meatballs

Far West: Fish Tacos

Often cited as America’s healthiest region, the West Coast has a cuisine that’s characterized by fresh, bright flavors: crunchy vegetable wraps, fresh fish, zesty burritos spritzed with lime juice. Fish tacos are the clear winner, standing out in everyone’s mind as the regional staple. Assemble an easy DIY taco bar for your guests, complete with chunky mango salsa and tender hunks of battered mahi mahi.

Get the recipe: The Ultimate Fish Tacos

Southwest: Tomatillos

These juicy, green, tomato-like specimens are emblematic of Southwestern cooking, where Native American and Mexican influences are tangible in regional dishes such as pork chili verde. You can incorporate tomatillos into your election party spread by chopping them up and stirring them into a batch of zesty guacamole.

Get the recipe: Tomatillo Guacamole