This Is How Kamala Harris Unwinds

For someone pursuing the second most powerful position in American politics – the role of vice president – Democratic candidate Kamala Harris needs to have a set practice for relaxation at a moment’s notice. The cutthroat pace of politics doesn’t allow much time for unwinding.

Luckily, Harris has got unwinding covered.

2020 Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris
2020 Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris | Win McNamee/Getty Images

Kamala Harris loves to read recipes to relax

As unlikely as it sounds, the 55-year-old senator from California finds relaxation in a good cookbook. Not making the recipes. Just reading them. Perhaps it’s the predictability of the ingredients and instructions, or the promise in joining flavors and textures that give Harris a respite from the pressures of a day.

“One of the things that I do to relax at the end of the day is I read recipes,” Harris told The Cut in 2018. “I have a whole collection of cookbooks, so if I’m at home, I read them. It could be Marcella Hazan or Alice Waters. Sometimes I just do the New York Times cooking app if I’m on the road, or I try to get past the paywall on Bon Appétit.”

Who are Marcella Hazan and Alice Waters, the two chefs Kamala Harris admires?

Just in case you were wondering who the two chefs that Kamala Harris referenced are, they are most definitely not Food Network celebrity chefs.

Marcella Hazan
Marcella Hazan | Santi Visalli/Getty Images

Marcella Hazan, who died in 2013 at age 89, was a foodie ahead of her time. Hazan is credited as the first person, a woman at that, to introduce Italian cuisine to the United States in the 1970s. She was, as the New York Times quoted popular Italian chef and PBS host Lidia Bastianich as saying, “the first mother of Italian cooking in America.”

Perhaps it is Hazan’s simplicity in cooking, for which she was most known, that draws Kamala Harris to the Italian chef’s cookbooks. As Harris said in her conversation with The Cut, “If I’m cooking, I feel like I’m in control of my life.”

Alice Waters
Alice Waters | Thomas J. Gibbons/Getty Images

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Alice Waters’ 2007 cookbook, How to Cook Simple Food, tells us we’re onto something here as to what draws Harris to these revolutionary chefs. Waters, who the New York Times writes has “single-handedly changed the American palate,” encourages eaters to consume seasonal foods that are locally produced.

Both Waters, 76, and Hazan called for food to be prepared simply – and yet also for it to be handled with responsibility.

Cooking makes Kamala Harris feel ‘normal’

Harris makes clear she doesn’t take self-care lightly. It’s crucial for the stepmother of two to take restorative measures in order for her to have the energy she needs for each day packed with duties and obligations. For her, getting in the kitchen and cooking plants her down in a comforting normalcy.

“Everything else can be crazy, I can be on six planes in one week, and what makes me feel normal is making Sunday-night family dinner,” she said. “Recently I’ve been on this Mediterranean kick. My daughter only eats fish, no meat, so last weekend I made swordfish and I toasted cardamom and cumin seeds and did that with garlic and onion and lemon and kind of marinated it, and it was really delicious.”

“Then I made lamb meatballs for everybody with mint and parsley and a little cilantro, and then I did this yogurt thing with cucumbers and a little sumac.”

Sounds like Kamala Harris has created a great recipe for winding down – and savoring life.