Politics and Pastry Creme

The Leaves Are Changing, and Congress Can Too!

It’s October—the month before what may be the most crucial elections of our lifetime. The November midterms will determine whether the Republicans maintain control of the House and Senate, and whether there is any hope of defeating the racist, misogynist agenda and massive corruption that Trump represents. 

Climate change is ravaging the planet, inequality is growing and being enforced with rampant brutality, and so many of us are reeling from the traumas re-stimulated by the Kavanaugh hearings! We need everyone to stand up and use our power to call for a different vision, one of integrity and caring.

Or at the very least, to show the arrogant liars that crime does not pay! 

Sometimes Voting Seems Like a Civics Test You Haven’t Prepared For  

What are all those initiatives on the ballot?  What does Comptroller mean anyway and how do I know who would be best for the job?

That’s where the pastry cream comes into it. 

Politics and Pastry Cream is a tradition started by my dear friend and neighbor Carin McKay—who happens to be an incredible chef and author of a fabulous cookbook, Culinary Magic, together with our mutual friend and pastry-cream-maker extraordinaire Max Rosenblum. 

Overwhelmed by the amount of study required to make an informed decision about who and what to vote for, they decided to make a party of it and have some fun. Who doesn’t love pastry cream?  (Vegans, we have an alternative for you!) Of course it goes with politics! 

And vavoom, 7 years later we have a tradition!  Now we are wanting to encourage others have their own Politics and Pastry cream events!  

Create Your Own Politics & Pastry Cream Voting Party:

1. Set a date.

2. Put the Word Out (to the right people)

Invite a group of like-minded friends who share your political values. The purpose of this gathering is mutual research and support—not to pick an argument with your most right-wing acquaintance. It’s ideal to do this a couple weeks before from the election so you will understand any further debates, discussions happening in the news.

3. Delegate Research

Assign each person two to three issues or candidates to research depending on how many are on the ballot. I vary the assignments between individual candidates, state and local issues. I tell people to study at least 20-30 minutes on each issue.  Send people some good study links beforehand. (Locally, we like the SF League of Pissed Off Voters, or the Bay Guardian, and the voter guides sent to you are also a good starting point.)

4. It’s a Voting Potluck

Ask your guests to bring their voting propaganda plus some drinks and snacks to share!  

5. Whip Up that Cream!

Make the pastry cream the day before the event.  Put it in tart shell or puff pastry- use your favorite recipe for that—or get them pre-baked. You can use our recipe for pastry cream below, or use the wonders of the internet to find your own. 

6. Assign Roles

Pick who is going to facilitate the discussion. If you are hosting, it will likely be you. Pick a time keeper.  Based on how many people are there and how many issues, decide on a total time allotted per issue. We often choose 7-10 minutes per issue. 

7. Organize!

Go down the list of issues and ask, for example, who is in charge of prop A?  That person will have about 3-5 minutes to give a report of what the issue is, what are the pro’s and con’s, who is for or against the issue. Then open it up for others to contribute their information to the discussion. 

8. Keep It Flowing

We will often bounce between local and state measures when we are asking people to give their report. You want to keep it moving so no one person does all their reports at once.

9. Indulge in That Sweet, Sweet Pastry Cream!

At the mid way point of your party, stop and have some pastry cream and snacks to gather steam for your second wind! Put on a record! Carin has an actual stereo and a collection of real records. Keep the music streaming for the rest of the evening! 

10. Resume

Finish up your educational rounds (and your pastry cream.) At the end, if you want, weigh all the propaganda you have gotten in the mail.  If you want, you can toss them in the fire stating your intention for the election. Or, recycle ’em.

11. The Most Important Part

At the appropriate time—VOTE! If you’re in a place that votes by mail, you can have everyone bring their mail-in ballots to the party and have some stamps on hand. 


It’s as simple as that, it’s fun, pleasurable, and who knows—you might make a new friend or change the world. And when you go into the voting booth, you’ll feel well-prepared!

 Recipes For Change

Below are the recipes for a dairy and vegan version. Warning—if you use these recipes, you MUST vote, or we can’t be answerable for what will happen. 

Remember: voting lowers cholesterol, and well-prepared voting will boost your immune system and greatly reduce your stress levels in the coming year.

So, in his own words, here’s Max’s recipe:

Here is my master recipe for creme patisserie to create the nourishing change we wish to see in the world. To be enjoyed with friends for greatest effect! 

2 cups milk

1 vanilla bean

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

6 egg yolks

Bring milk to a boil slowly with vanilla bean.

Lower to a simmer and add remaining ingredients. Continue stirring while adding all your hopeful intentions for the upcoming election being mindful not to let the cream burn.

Keep stirring as the cream thickens~resistence takes time to build!

Neither politics nor pastry creme is an exact science and it is important to start building your instincts around both. Continue stirring for 7-10 minutes at sea level or until *you* feel it is ready. 

Remove from heat and transfer to a container to cool.

Can be enjoyed straight, with fresh fruit, or in a pastry shell with berries on top. 

Enjoy the fruits of your labor with your gathered friends and neighbors and stirring the pot for social change.

We know some of you are vegans, or dairy-free. We’re not, and I’m sure you are Better People Than We Are! In the interests of not suppressing the Vegan Vote, Carin suggests this coconut pudding recipe

Voting Is A Revolutionary Act!

Voting might take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours of your life—and even if you would rather see a revolution it won’t deter you for long from your dedicated work of fomenting. It will make a difference!  There are a few hundred incarcerated children at the border, hundreds of thousands of disenfranchised voters, and 20 million people who stand to lose health insurance who can tell you that sometimes what seem like small differences can be crucial!

Are You Registered?

 You can find out at Vote Save America, a website from the folks at Crooked Media. I have really been enjoying their podcasts, especially Hysteria (all women!) and Pod Save America, which is kind of like listening to the smart guys on West Wing talk about current politics except these guys are real former staffers from Obama’s White House. Anyway, their website is an easy way to check and to find out how to register if you’re not, and full of great resources and suggestions of how to get involved.

Eat, discuss, engage, vote, and make change! 

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