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A gastronomical delight

Jyotsna P Dharwad March 21, 2017 0:01 IST
UNIQUE LEGACY About 60 households in Kondrahalli village of Malur taluk have continued their family profession, cooking. DH PHOTO

UNIQUE LEGACY About 60 households in Kondrahalli village of Malur taluk have continued their family profession, cooking. DH PHOTO

Kondrahalli is a nondescript village in Malur taluk of Kolar district. The 60 families that reside in this village have set it apart from the rest. All 60 families, except one, are engaged in continuing their family legacy, that is, cooking. Here, every household has cooks and every house is a huge kitchen. Professionals they are, their culinary skills are matchless. From dishing out sumptuous lunch, breakfast and dinner, they are also experts in preparing an endless number of lip-smacking snacks and side dishes.

Skilled and trained, they are capable of displaying their culinary talent for small events as well as huge gatherings. The cooks cater to a variety of events like birthday parties, religious ceremonies, social gatherings, public events, charity causes etc. They are invited for every occasion in the neighbouring towns and cities and, their fame has spread to the neighbouring states too.

Their hands are full through out the year. During seasons, when the business is at its peak, the entire village moves out. While men get busy with orders, the elders in the family, lead the baton, supported by women and youths. Children too chip in and assist the elders in chopping, serving, roasting and frying.

In the absence of ceremonies, they usually travel with tourist buses, catering to the gastronomic delights of the tourists. Children hone their culinary skills during vacation, under the able guidance of their parents. Every household is equipped with the necessary equipment to take orders at home. Some families cook at home and distribute at the venue. Mariyappa, Basavaraj and Chandrappa are some of the master chefs of Kondrahalli.

“We are flourishing at present. And have never lamented over our choice of the profession. There is not one dull moment,” adds Nagesh, another cook. On certain occasions, they even cook for free. Most of the religious ceremonies that take place in the temples of Kondrahalli, as well as in the neighbouring villages, have them cooking for free. They don’t charge for mass marriages and social welfare programmes too. “This is our service to society,” adds Nagesh.

At a time when youths prefer to migrate to greener pastures for a better livelihood, the younger generation in Kondrahalli has decided to stick to the kitchens. Once upon a time, only a handful of families were engaged in cooking to eke out a living at Kondrahalli, while the rest pursued farming. Kondrahalli has reeled under severe drought and crop loss for at least a decade now. When farming became a tough choice to hang on, the residents of Kondrahalli preferred to pick the ladle and the rolling pin, instead of trying their hands with the sickle and spade.

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