I help out once or twice a month as a volunteer in a ‘nutritious lunch’ program at a local school. I’ve cut down on volunteer work in recent years, but this volunteer assignment is near the top of my list of things to do each month.
In that context, I’m pleased to share with you a Feb. 3, 2014 New York Times article entitled: “In India, a Pilgrimage to a Feast for Thousands.”
Here’s an excerpt:
- After decades of organizing weddings, reunions and Shashti Poorthi (as the highly significant 60th birthday celebrations for male Chettiars are known), Mrs. Meyyappan has large-scale feeds down to a system. “First you book the cook,” she said. “There is always a fight for the cook,” a fact that owes to the brevity of the local wedding season here and a general clamor for astrologically auspicious days on which celebrations can be held. A contract is drawn up over a bowl of nuts and betel leaves, Mrs. Meyyappan added, “Then you create a menu and get to work.”
- For the last half-century, Mrs. Meyyappan has called on a cook contractor called Natesan, a sturdily built man of 87, whose cool confidence in the face of daunting numbers comes of cooking for more than 65 years. The team of choppers and cooks led by Natesan and his son N. Murugesan typically numbers over 100.