There's something soothing about foods that crunch beneath your teeth. Potato chips, crackers, celery—they all do the trick. But this election night (tonight!) calls for something a bit more politically correct.
There is an industrial food crisis to account for, after all, so on this night of all nights, junk food would hardly be right. (You never know the subliminal message your snacks could be sending to those west coast voters as they close the polls).
My kitchen message, I decided, would be seasonal. The terribly erratic jack-o-lantern I carved from a pumpkin picked up down the street sat empty on the living room table. The seeds lay out to dry on the kitchen counter, atop a cookie tray and alongside a jar of salt.
It was only a matter of minutes before I had the oven cranked up, blazing away at 350 and beckoning warm. I sprinkled the seeds with water and salt, and popped them in to bake. In 5 minutes flat, I'd concocted this evening's snack.
Ten minutes later, I heard the seeds begin to pop and ran to the oven to check their progress. They were beginning to brown, salt shriveling against tempered pods, and the smell of pumpkin oil spread through the kitchen. When the last pop had burst forth, I pulled the seeds out to dry, and settled in to pray.
TOASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse and clean seeds of 1 large jack-o-lantern (other winter squash seeds will do just as well, but given the season, I'll bet you can rustle up some pumpkin seeds). While still wet (they must be wet for the salt to stick), sprinkle with salt to taste. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until seeds are golden brown.