Bon Appétit bites into politics with cookie sale
Narrow margins. Partisan biases. Dubious counting methods. This is not the 2000 election—it’s the Washington University cookie contest, held in anticipation of the vice presidential debate.
In the weeks leading up to the presidential election, Bon Appétit has been conducting its own version of the Gallup poll in the best way they know how: through food.
The cookies, shaped like bloated, stylized Republican elephants and Democratic donkeys, are decorated with red icing and blue icing, respectively. Additionally, the red cookies have a letter “P” for Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and the blue cookies have a letter “B” for Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Contrary to widely held belief, the cookies are not simply sugar cookies, but rather shortbread cookies with a hint of lemon zest, freshly baked on campus.
On Sept. 22, baskets of the cookies appeared next to registers in the Danforth University Center Café, Whispers Café, Bear’s Den, the Village Café and Hilltop Bakery. Results are tallied at midnight upon the closing of Whispers every night and reported every morning in Tisch Commons in the DUC.
On Sep. 23, the Republican cookies held a slight vote margin, leading the race with 136 elephant cookies to 133 donkey cookies. Though initial reaction was highest to the Republican cookies, many argued that the larger elephant cookies bore an unfair advantage and catered too kindly to hungry students.
However, the discriminating tastes of some students have had nothing to do with politics. Caroline Pogue, a senior, said, “I buy the Palin cookies when I’m hungry and a Biden cookie when I want fewer calories.”
However, upon learning of the impact of their purchases, students have shown a marked preference to the small but mighty donkey treats. To even the score, the Bon Appétit bakery evened the cookie sizes.
“There’s been a big jump in donkey cookies, especially the last two days,” Lisa Green, a supervisor in the DUC Café, said. When asked if the cookies held any taste advantage, she tested the two and shrugged. “They taste the same to me.”
As of Wednesday, the day before the debate, the Joe Biden cookies led by a landslide, continuing a weeklong streak in which the Democratic count has been twice as great as the Republican count. The final tally will be announced on the day of the debate.
The contest is not a new tradition on campus. In 2004, the elephant cookies outsold the donkeys to successfully predict the victory of President George W. Bush.