The Many Ways Americans Are Honoring the First Woman Vice President

It has happened! The United States of America has sworn in its first woman vice president. Kamala Harris is also the first Black and first South Asian American to be elected to the second-highest post in the country. It was symbolic to watch her take the oath from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first woman of color to sit on the Supreme Court bench—an inspiration to women and people of color in a country that’s been divided by race and prejudice.

The significance was not lost on people who celebrated this win with Harris-inspired dishes, ice cream flavors, coffees, and candles, and applauded Vice President Kamala Harris, a woman who has shattered glass ceilings all through her political career.

Tamarind Rice

American TV host and author Padma Lakshmi made a special treat in honor of Kamala Harris a day before the inauguration. She shared the recipe of tamarind rice, which happens to be a favorite of Harris and Lakshmi, on Instagram. The South Indian dish uses rice and tamarind, along with spices and nuts, and is very easy to make, she explained in the video.

Lakshmi was born in Chennai, much like Harris’ mother Shyamala Gopalan, and immigrated to the U.S. as a child. She went on to host Top Chef on Bravo and is now a food expert.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Padma Lakshmi (@padmalakshmi)

On November 8, she posted pictures of Harris’ family and her own, as she welcomed Harris, whose family looks so much like hers. She mentioned that Harris’ grandparents lived right around the corner from Lakshmi’s in Chennai. “As kids, we were probably sent out on errands to the same All-In-One corner store. Our grandpas might have walked together in the same nightly group on Elliot Beach. We were also both raised by single mothers who came to the States for opportunity, and practiced medicine.” Representation matters, she wrote.

Kamala Blossom Ice Cream

Koolfi Creamery

Priti Narayanan and Madhuri Anji’s Koolfi Creamery in Northern California’s East Bay region introduced a special flavor for Vice President Harris in December. (Note: the flavor is currently on backorder.) Kamala Blossom is a limited-edition flavor made with lotus seed and rose, with a topping of crunchy pistachio. “Kamala” means lotus in Sanskrit, and this Indian ice cream is an homage to Harris.

This isn’t the only desi flavor in their repertoire though—Chief Ice Cream Engineer Narayanan has taken from her Indian roots to come up with unique flavors, like Bombay Butterscotch with Cashew Toffee, Mango Koolfi, and Souther Kapi, while her partner’s German heritage is also showcased.

In an Instagram post, the creamery encouraged people to applaud the historic event while savoring this refreshingly pink Kamala Blossom. The caption shared another tidbit, “Our chief ice cream engineer, Priti, grew up in the same neighborhood and walked the same local sandy shores in Chennai, where Kamala’s maternal grandparents lived. Maybe they crossed paths when Kamala visited!?”

Inauguration Breakfast Boxes

Local Food Adventures

Another East Bay brand rejoiced in the appointment of the first female Vice President of the U.S. Local Food Adventure, a food tour company that’s curating gift boxes during the pandemic, launched Inauguration Breakfast Boxes worth $49 (because she’ll be the 49th VP).

This gift box takes inspiration from Oakland and Harris, so you’ll find cornbread mix, garam masala, tea, honey, and a free waffle coupon from Harris’ friend’s eatery, Home of Chicken and Waffles—everything that she loves, sourced locally. A portion of the proceeds is donated to the Vice President’s elementary school. 

Chicken and Collards Lasagna

The owner of the aforementioned Home of Chicken and Waffles, Derreck Johnson, and Kamala Harris have been friends for four decades. At his restaurant, The Kamala made its debut, which is a collard greens lasagna (because Harris is fond of collard greens), a side salad, a choice of dessert and drink. The restaurateur has also painted her mural in his restaurant to honor the East Bay native.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Home of Chicken & Waffles (@the_homeofchickenandwaffles)

In fact, Johnson was present at the inauguration ceremony, along with other friends of Harris who flew to Washington, D.C. The two call each other “cousin” and they have been friends since they were 16. In an interview with NBC Bay Area, Johnson said, “I’m very excited. I feel very proud of her. It’s very emotional, it really sunk in yesterday when I rode in a motorcade.”

Inauguration Day Dinner

Robert Dorsey Catering & Events

San Francisco Bay Area chef Robert Dorsey commemorated the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris with a three-course takeout dinner, with another of the VP’s favorite dishes, seafood gumbo.

The chef, who went to the same elementary school as Harris, told ABC7News that they both had the same first-grade teacher. Dorsey shared photos of the local Dungeness crabs that were used in his dinner meal. It was available a day before the inauguration for the Bay Area natives who wanted to celebrate the momentous occasion safely at home. He told East Bay journalist Melissa Pixcar, “It feels like I am representing the Vice President-elect in her hometown on this stage in this monumental time.”

MVP Ice Creams

Smitten Ice Cream

Smitten Ice Cream in the Bay Area churned scoops of MVP, their Madam Vice President flavor, to cheer on an idol. The new scoop is malted salted vanilla with chewy pecan pralines, and the red and blue pint packaging has an illustration of the former senator with the words “Congratulations to Our First Ever MVP.” A portion of the sales from the MVP pints are going to the non-profit organization Five Keys Home Free. They offer nationwide shipping and you can order it here.

Founder Robyn Sue Fisher started selling her churned-to-order ice cream on the streets of San Francisco in 2009, with an ice cream machine on a Radio Flyer wagon. Now the brand has five outlets in California.

Malai

A Brooklyn-based brand also launched an MVP flavor. Malai Ice Cream’s Pooja Bavishi has something to celebrate this win for women and people of color: a mango and coconut ice cream with candied lotus seeds. Her brand is deeply rooted in her Indian heritage, so saffron, halwa, chai, ghee, and sweet roti are the ingredients on the menu that hit the sweet spot.

Kamala Harris Candle

JD and Kate Industries.

This has got to be a favorite: humor and floral scent! JD+Kate Industries have got it all, from Obama and Biden candles to Anti-Trump and Impeachment candles. The Missouri-based candlemakers are also humor writers, and that’s why you get an entertaining FAQ (“Q: How do you pronounce her name? A: It’s pronounced HAIR-iss”) on the Kamala Harris candle.

Kate Dobson revealed in an interview that she started making Harris-inspired candles before she was picked as Biden’s running mate. “It’s this really soothing, spa-like scent, and I find her to have a very calming presence.”

Biden’s candle, much to everyone’s surprise doesn’t smell like ice cream, which the POTUS loves, but instead, it’s Gatorade-scented.

Kamala Blend Coffee

A family-owned coffee roaster in Vallejo, in the San Francisco Bay Area, created a special blend for former President Barack Obama when he was elected in 2008. Now, Moschetti has introduced a special blend for the Vice President.

The Kamala Blend celebrates her Jamaican and Indian roots, with the “finest Jamaican Blue Mountain beans, and mixing in two types of beans from India, a washed mild from India’s Arabidacool Estate and a Monsoon Malabar AA,” the website states. It starts at $18 for 15 ounces.

Owner Fabrice Moschetti explained the blend to ABC7News, “We tried to do something that is like our next Vice-President-Elect. Strong, bold, but lively and with a long finish.”

MVP Cocktails

 
 
 
 
 
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Two San Francisco establishments raised a toast to Harris with MVP cocktails, at $5 each, available for take-out and delivery. Palm House made its drink with Jamaican rum, banana liqueur, pineapple, cinnamon syrup, chocolate bitters, and lemon. At The Dorian SF, it was gin, yellow chartreuse, lemon, and chai syrup. 

Biden-Harris Merch

From Biden’s “Will you shut up, man?” to Harris’ “Excuse me, I’m speaking,” you will find these powerful words on everything: mugs, caps, beanies, sweatshirts. There are also sneaker stickers and Mr. President’s aviators. You can buy the Madam Vice President t-shirt here and Kamala Harris coffee mug here. To show your love for the new administration (and capitalism), check out this list, courtesy of Forbes.

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