Cook turkey and cornbread like Kamala Harris this Thanksgiving

Updated on Nov 26, 2020 01:31 PM IST

United States Vice President-elect Kamala Harris once shared, “My mother used to tell me, ‘Kamala, you clearly like to eat good food. You better learn how to cook.’” And with Thanksgiving upon us, the former Senator has some handy tips proving she is not only a trailblazing politician, but also an extraordinary culinary artist.

Kamala Harris(Instagram)
Kamala Harris(Instagram)
Hindustan Times, Delhi | By

US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has made history as the first and only female VP of the United States and the words, “I may be the first, but won’t be the last”, from her first VP-elect speech stirred pride and hope in women (of colour, and otherwise) all around the globe. Kamala will not only be the first woman to hold the VP’s office, but also the first of Black and South Asian descent too. And as great as Kamala is in her professional life, she is just as brilliant when it comes to the kitchen. Kamala has often expressed her love for cooking, be it cooking dosas with Mindy Kaling as a tribute to her South Indian heritage (her mother, Shyamala Gopalan was born in Chennai before she moved to the USA) or teaching Senator Mark Warner, with whom Harris sits on the budget and intelligence committees, how to make the right kind of tuna melt via a live video stream while the world was under lockdown on account of the coronavirus pandemic. The VP elect had once shared that cooking, food and sharing recipes “is a gift that you can give people. That’s how I was introduced to it.” In an interview to Glamour she shared, “My mother used to tell me, ‘Kamala, you clearly like to eat good food. You better learn how to cook.’”

And with Thanksgiving upon us, how could the 56-year-old junior United States senator from California disappoint her legion of followers? Thanksgiving is a major American holiday which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November annually, and is incomplete without the centerpiece which is a perfectly cooked and basted turkey, and some delicious trimmings of cornbread, cranberry sauce and the pumpkin and sweet potato pies. And as expected, Kamala came through to save us some trouble and time with very handy tips for this festive season. The US attorney took to her Instagram and Twitter to share multiple posts to give a step-by-step guide for her family’s cornbread dressing recipe, writing, “During difficult times I have always turned to cooking. This year, I wanted to share one of my family’s favorite Thanksgiving recipes with you. I hope whenever you’re able to make it in life, it brings you as much warmth as it has brought me—even when separated from those I love.”


Kamala’s recipe calls for cornbread mix, spicy pork sausages, onions, apples, celery stalks, chicken broth, unsalted butter, fresh parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Through a series of slides she explains the method of cooking. You begin by baking your cornbread according to the instructions on the package and then crumbling it once it’s cooled. Step two: Remove your sausage from its casing, crumble it up, brown it in a pan with a bit of oil, and then set aside. Step three asks you to sauté your vegetables and apples in the remaining oil and fat. This is followed by mixing in the rest of the ingredients including the apples, sausage, vegetables, cornbread crumbs, melted butter, herbs, and chicken broth, and placing the mixture in a baking dish which goes into an oven set at 375 F (190 degree Celsius) for around 40 minutes.

In 2018 Kamala had tweeted about her cornbread dressing, writing, “We’re all up early this Thanksgiving, getting the table ready and preparing food for dinner. The meal wouldn’t be complete without my cornbread dressing!”


For Kamala, cooking and watching/reading about it is almost routine, in a 2018 to The Cut she had said, “One of the things that I do to relax at the end of the day is I read recipes. 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.”

The former Senator had also shared some tips with on how to cook and baste the perfect turkey last year during a 90-second commercial break on the MSNBC show PoliticsNation with Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart, who asked her for her turkey recipe and recently tweeted a video of Kamala explaining the same. Jonathan wrote, “How much does Kamala Harris like to cook? She answered my husband’s ? about brining a turkey about 1 min before going on PoliticsNation from Columbia, SC (after I was on). I recorded her response ‘cause I don’t cook and she was speaking a foreign language (sic).”


In the short video, Kamala shared that a big bottle of cheap, white wine is the secret to a perfect, plump turkey and that if one has time to do a wet brine, they always should, “Do it like a pot of water, a couple bay leaves, a little sugar, a cup of peppercorns, you could even do a slice of orange, something like that.”

In the two-minute long video Harris asked Capeheart if the couple was getting a fresh turkey, to which the response was yes, so Kamala advised, “Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, chop up a little thyme... Do the salt and pepper all over, like just lather that baby up on the outside, in the cavity.” Adding that the trick is to, “mix (the salt and pepper) up with some thyme, a little rosemary if you want. (Put it) under the skin with some butter, before you’re going to cook it, so that that butter will just melt in there... then get a nice big bottle of cheap white wine to baste with butter.”


    'Ask no questions, hear no lies.' Alfea Jamal is a fashion, culture, travel and food writer. She also dabbles in video journalism, multimedia production, the culinary arts, design and is modestly decent with canvas.

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