Kamala Harris knows a thing or two about food. While her running mate Joe Biden favors the simple pleasures of a red-sauce pasta and good artisanal ice cream, the California senator’s preferences seem to have a more sophisticated flair.
The daughter of a South Indian immigrant, Harris grew up on foods like yogurt, daal, and potato curry. Observing her mother in the kitchen and appreciating homemade food from an early age inspired the vice-presidential candidate to become a passionate home cook herself. (Related: 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.)
“My mother used to tell me, ‘Kamala, you clearly like to eat good food. You better learn how to cook,” says Harris of her mother’s encouragement. And so she did. Now, as busy as she is, she finds time to regularly unwind by cooking Sunday night dinners for family and friends. “It’s a tradition I really care about, just having a really good home-cooked meal on a Sunday,” she told Glamour in May.
So what’s a typical meal you would expect to be served by the Californian senator? While we know she makes a mean tuna melt and gifted New Jersey senator Cory Booker with a cooking lesson in lentils via Face Time for his birthday, it’s the whole roasted chicken that most frequently comes up in interviews as her go-to specialty.
She prepares it a day ahead, by rubbing a mixture of lemon, herbs, and seasonings under the skin, then lathers the skin with butter and lets it rest in the fridge for a day before slow-roasting it for dinner.
But her chefy savviness really shines through when she explains she’ll use the bird for leftovers until every piece has been put to good use—she’ll make chicken salad with leftover meat, while the carcass is slow-cooked with root vegetables for a delicious broth. The art of cooking once and eating twice (or three times) is surely something she learned from her mother, who would meal prep on the weekend before meal prep was a thing.
Another thing she loves to prep ahead? Beans! She uses dry beans and soaks them overnight to get that perfect pot of beans the next day. Then she gets creative, “I’ve done hummus. I did red beans and rice recently, which was so good. I like black beans too. You can do so much with beans.”
But what does Kamala Harris eat when she isn’t cooking? For this Bay Area native, burritos are naturally high on the list of cravings. According to a former advisor, her favorite burrito is made by La Cumbre, a 50-year-old taqueria that is rumored to have invented the Mission-style burrito.
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