They say it’s always darkest before the dawn. Or, right before it goes pitch black.

Either way, I’m sensing we’re on the precipice of a monumental shift in this country.

The showdown between Republicans and Democrats over President Donald Trump’s alleged misdeeds in office has been like a huge anchor, weighing down the usual joie de vivre and spirit of camaraderie that we Americans routinely exhibit toward one another. And it all came to a head this past week when the presidential impeachment inquiry entered into its public phase, with televised hearings that could drag on for who-knows-how-long.

But this is where this impeachment could actually be good for America, since nothing brings a country together quite like sharing a television event. And let’s face it, the impeachment hearings are like the Super Bowl, the World Series and March Madness, all rolled into one.

All this political drama on TV offers us a chance to:

• Gather as families to watch the American political system at work.

• Host impeachment watch parties, inviting friends of all political stripes to join in the unfolding spectacle of a Constitutional crisis.

• Start office pools to drum up excitement for proceedings that some pundits have had the nerve to call “boring.” The friendly wagering could involve, say, the over/under on how many times President Trump tweets “Witch hunt!” during a specific hearing.

• Create our own red and blue jerseys sporting names like “Team Trump” and “Team Reality” on them.

Whether you’re watching alone or in a group, having a few snacks on hand can make the televised impeachment hearings that much more enjoyable. And the best part: You don’t have to worry about loading up on unhealthy snacks. Trust us, with the direction this country is going, living longer isn’t a particularly appealing prospect right now.

So as our little contribution toward this televised love fest, we present a few snack recipes. Sadly, in the interest of space, we were forced to eliminate such recipe favorites as “Jim Jordan’s Pig in a Blanket,” "Shifty Adam's Sliders," "Tea Party Mix" (extra nuts), "Never-Trump Nachos," "Impeachment Cobbler" (Best served with ice cream. That, or the angry bile of dozens of partisan political hacks), and something called an “Alexandra Chalupa.”

Without further ado, here they are — our Top 5 snacks for watching the televised impeachment hearings, or what we like to call “High Crimes and Misdemunchies” ...

Partisan Parmesan Popcorn

It’s hard to beat popcorn as a screen snack. This might be our favorite recipe, because it’s hands down the simplest. If you can microwave popcorn — and who can’t? — you can make this tasty treat.

  • 1 bag microwave popcorn
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Microwave popcorn according to directions on package. Empty bag into a large bowl. Add parmesan cheese and toss. Serve to only half of your guests.

Coup Couscous

This is another of our favorites, because it’s so easy to make. And why not turn it into a fun-if-blandly-tasteless "drinking game," by taking another mouthful every time a Republican describes the hearings as a “coup.”

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups couscous
  • Salt, butter to taste

Bring 3 cups water to a boil. Add couscous and stir once. Turn off heat, cover pot and allow to steam for 5 minutes. Fluff cooked couscous with a fork, add salt and butter, and promptly toss it all in the trash because, well, it is couscous.

Quid Pro Queso Dip

We don’t actually have a queso dip of our own, so this one is adapted from a tasty delish.com recipe. We omitted the cilantro from that recipe because cilantro is even more evil than the Ukrainians.

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 12 ounces American cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup milk
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 4-ounce can green chiles
  • Tortilla chips, for serving

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add cheeses and milk and stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in tomatoes and green chiles. Serve with Never-Trump Nachos.

Deep State Dogs

We can’t actually provide you with the recipe for these delicious hot dogs because, frankly (Get it? "Frankly"?), the whole thing is a secret government conspiracy involving the Russians, Rudy Giuliani, and mustard/pickle relish.

Witch Hunt Wings

Making buffalo wings is waaaay beyond our own culinary abilities, so this tasty recipe is borrowed from the fabulous folks at foodnetwork.com.

  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 24 chicken wing parts (12 wings separated into 2 pieces)
  • One 12-ounce bottle cayenne hot pepper sauce, such as Frank’s
  • 1 stick butter
  • Several dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • Several dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  • Blue cheese dip, for serving
  • Celery sticks, for serving

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Heat 3 inches of canola oil in a heavy pot to 375 degrees. Add half the chicken wing parts to the oil and fry them until they’re golden brown and fully cooked, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the other half of the wing parts. In a saucepan, heat the cayenne sauce and butter over medium-low heat. Add the Worcestershire and hot sauce. Let it bubble up, and then turn off the heat. Place the wings in an ovenproof dish and pour the hot sauce over the top. Toss to coat, then bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Serve with blue cheese dip, celery sticks.

And finally, don’t forget the antacids.

Because before these hearings are over? You’re going to need them.

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/MarkSaal.

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