Election Night Nosh

The night that Pierre Trudeau became Prime Minister of Canada is the first election night I remember. I’d spotted him early, because of an article in McLeans, and as a young teen I thought he was the coolest guy on earth — cooler than Stevie Winwood, cooler than Glenn Gould, cooler than Jerry Lee Lewis. He wore sandals into the House of Commons, sported a red rose in his buttonhole every day, and met up with John and Yoko when they did the Bed-In in Montreal.

It must be noted that Pierre Trudeau got Canada a constitution.

I can’t remember what we ate that election night, but I’m sure my mother served up a memorable meal — except that I can’t remember it . My parents were excited as I was, watching the CBC returns on the old  b&w.

I’ve never missed an election night since. I sat in the Student Union at McGill, eating soggy fries and seeing Hubert Humphrey go down. Carter, Reagan, Clinton, two Bushes, Obama. I realize that Election Night, while we’re watching the returns, joyful or disgusted, we’ve drifted into Election Night Nosh tradition.

It’s snackie night, clean out the freezer night, cheap cheerful food night. Because the coverage goes on and on, there’s a leisurely feel: it the news is bad, why not be in the kitchen frying up that half package of pot stickers from Trader Joe’s? If the news is good, you can run from the kitchen where you were making guacamole from a couple of elderly avocados. When things get grim, it’s just as well to be deaf over the stove, cooking up the end of a bag of frozen shrimp in a spicy sauce to throw over a bed of rice.

It’s like a low rent Oscar Night party. Thankfully there are no musical acts, no evening gowns, no comedians. But trust me, I care about a swing district in North Dakota more than I care about Best Director. Excuse me while I bite my nails and stir up a wok of fried rice.



Filed under A Couple of Bucks, Born in Chicago, Food, History, Politics

4 responses to “Election Night Nosh

  1. kim shook

    The first election that I really remember being involved in was 1968 (I was nine). What a ride that was. We lived in Northern VA right outside of DC and I remember those scary times after Dr. King was killed. Momma was a big supporter of Bobby Kennedy and then after he was killed, we handed out McCarthy literature. We only switched to HHH after the convention. Her whole family were Wallace supporters (giant rolling eyes). I remember staying up LATE to watch the returns with Momma and her saying, “Well at least Wallace didn’t win!”. Not much to cheer about THIS election night. I didn’t even bother to watch, honestly.

  2. Bev

    Our high school class had the pleasure of meeting PET during one of our class trips to Ottawa..he had such a presence..most of us were awestruck by him. Do you remember the Trudeau salute? Sorry to hear about your election results..our own Premier stepped down today..he is so disliked for bringing in the HST. Loved the flashback…always love checking in here!

  3. I received this email from my father last night, and I don’t think he’ll mind me sharing. Pierre Trudeau was our Obama:

    “Dear Margaret: I certainly remember the election night that returned the Liberal party with Pierre Elliot Trudeau as its leader. We felt that he was the ideal Canadian leader – francophone, dynamic, perfectly bilingue, loved Canada, and despised Rene Levesque and the
    Pequists. We opened a bottle of fancy champagne with Carm and Roland Gauthier to celebrate. I was at the luncheon in the great hall
    in the Queen Elizabeth where he gave a stem winding speech for the No in the 1980 referendum, and left everyone on their feet,
    cheering their heads off. And there was the reception at the Club des Raquettes in TR (prior to Margaret Sinclair) where he danced withevery woman in the pkace – except your mother,.who was holding Hortense Barraket’s coat while SHE danced with Trudeau. Great
    days! ”

    Yes, they were great days.

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