What have been your basic reactions to these complicated political times we live in? Screaming fits? Overindulgence in alcohol or eating an entire pizza? Adjusting your makeup to better complement the now-permanently affixed expression of dumbfounded shock on your face, then researching Botox to counteract the constant perplexed frown? A creeping, deep anxiety that manifests physically in tension headaches? Laughing maniacally for no reason? Maybe that's just us.
As women living in America today it is entirely fair to feel as though we are under attack. The current hostile political environment — what we see on TV and on Facebook and hear everyone talking about everywhere all the time — feels personal and immediate and scary as hell. It's easy enough to feel helpless and turn to the relative comfort of apathy in the face of this vehemently anti-woman presidential candidate. But as Michelle Obama taught us, WHEN THEY GO LOW, WE GO HIGH. We will not be quiet. We will not ignore how bad or how angry we feel. We will do what we do naturally, which is to nurture and empower our communities, whether they're small friend groups or whole neighborhoods, by banding together, laughing in the face of terribleness, and cooking some delicious food. And then we will come out in droves to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton, and in doing so say WE WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS.
And if, by some ethical fluke, some kind of collective moral floundering, Donald John Trump wins the election for United States president, we should eat like it's our last day on this spectacular earth. Let's eat with conscience and with abandon. Rice balls stuffed with pork ragu. Tomato anchovy toast. Potato pancakes with pickled Prince Edward Island mussels. Spears of deeply bitter greens. Let's have a martini and a Bellini. Fuck it, I want pollo y salsa verde tamales too. Labneh and flatbread rubbed with za'atar. Naan and yellow dal. Momos stuffed with ginger and carrots. Sticky crispy rice with saffron and apricots. There is so much beautiful food in this world to love. Lamb and pumpkin tagine. Le grande aïoli! Pink wine! Don't forget Neapolitan pizza.
Let's stand in the room and cook everything together. Let's cook to make the clock stop, and defenestrate together. No, let's cook to make the clock stop, to turn around and love one another.
In this spirit, may we lovingly present a menu for this Election Day: When They Go Low, We Eat High (not like that, but you can if you are into that sort of thing):
THE SEVEN LAYERS OF HELL "BAD OMBRÉ" DIP
1 cup refried beans
3 cups crushed Doritos
1 1/2 cups chopped pimento peppers
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 small can chipotle peppers
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups of your favorite corn salsa
2 cups Mexican-blend cheese
Dipping chip of your choice
1. Let's start burning through these layers of a Donald Trump metaphor recipe one tier of hell at a time.
2. Spread the refried beans along the bottom of your glass bowl of choice. Bonus points if you can somehow find a glass blower to create a Donald Trump–faced bowl.
3. Next, crush the Doritos with your bare hands over the refried beans. Wash the orange stain from your hands as quickly as possible.
4. Top the crushed Doritos with the pimento peppers.
5. Mix the sour cream and chipotle peppers until they are the shade of rose-colored glasses.
6. Smear the sour-cream mixture gently over the crushed Doritos. Remember, we go high, no need to rub it in.
7. Next, layer the chopped tomatoes.
8. We are almost through these layers of election hell now, so pile on the corn salsa!
9. Now, with your soul starting to lighten, add a healthy layer of cheese. Cheese has the power to bring us all together again. No fact-checking needed.
10. Blissfully serve yourself a generous portion, and pour yourself a giant margarita. You deserve it.
SAUSAGE-STUFFED PORK LOIN WITH PICKLED CHERRIES AND WIKI LEEKS
Serves 4 to 6
1 2-pound pork loin, butterflied
1⁄2 pound sweet Italian pork sausage, or any kind that looks fab
1 cup torn bread
1/4 cup cream or milk or water
1⁄2 cup grated pecorino
1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Wiki Leeks braise:
5 leeks, washed and cut into roughly 4-inch pieces (try to keep them together if you can)
3 cloves garlic
Lots of rosemary and sage
2 heaping teaspoons Dijon mustard
1⁄2 stick of butter!!!
Juice and zest of one lemon
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup Pernod
Salt and pepper to taste
For the pickled cherries:
1 cup dried cherries, yum, extra for nibbling
1⁄2 cup cider vinegar
1⁄2 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons salt
Greek yogurt to dollop on top
1. First things first, find a good piece of pork. It makes a real difference — taste-wise, environmentally, politically, globally. When you're buying your meat, ask the butcher to butterfly the loin for you. This will make everything easier.
2. Brine the pork loin in your brine of choice. After two hours in the brine, rinse the meat off, dry it with paper towels, and lay it flat on a cutting board.
3. In the meantime, make the pickled cherries. Combine all the ingredients for the cherries together, and allow to sit at least 4 hours. Or up to forever. They don't really go bad, and they're so good.
4. Mix the torn bread with milk, cream, or water, and smush the hell out of it with your paws! Then add the rest of the filling ingredients, and smush some more until well mixed.
5. Spread filling evenly onto pork loin. Roll it up the long way. Tie with butcher twine at each end and three times down the center.
6. Grab your favorite roasting pan. Not the most gigantic one you have, but one that this fat pig will feel comfortable napping in. Slather the bottom with olive oil, and place that loin down!
7. Toss the rest of the ingredients into the pan. Add half the butter in small chunks. Combine in a reasonable way, cover with foil, and cook at 250°F for 2 hours.
8. After 2 hours, remove cover, and bake for another 20 minutes.
9. If the liquid in the pan is getting real dry, add more stock. If it's too liquidy, move the pan to the stovetop to reduce the liquid and make the sauce nice and gravy-like.
10. Remove the loin and leeks, and add remaining room-temp butter to the sauce in the pan (muahahaha). Whisk until sauce is as thick and amazing as Donald Trump's hair isn't.
11. Allow the loin to cool for about ten minutes, and then cut the twine. Slice into 2-inch medallions. Serve with Wiki Leeks, a few sour pickled cherries, and a dollop of yogurt. Drizzle good EVOO on top for good measure. And please, whatever you do, enjoy the hell out of it! Lick your plate, make noise, get seconds.
NASTY BLOODY MARY
Serves 4 to 6 people
2 cups vodka
1 quart tomato juice
1 cup clam juice
1⁄4 cup lemon juice
1⁄3 cup pickle juice
3 tablespoons Crystal hot sauce
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 heaping tablespoons horseradish
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Grated lemon zest
White Castle slider
Blazing-hot tiny French onion soup in a tiny bread bowl
A pickle, an olive, and a caper berry
Mix all ingredients together. Stir well. Serve over ice! Add your fave nasty garnish.
Zahra, Jennie and Nicole met at Zahra's restaurant Brucie, after the restaurant closed last year they formed HighFive Girl, a company offering catering and restaurant consulting, branding and concept development. They are launching a feminist food blog by the same name this winter!
Anna Dunn is a writer and the co author of the recently released "Dinner at the Long Table", and a long time employee/family member of the Tarlow restaurant empire. They all met through eating and drinking and shooting the shit at Romans, Marlow and Diner.