Desi chef Andrakashari Mastanamma, India’s centenarian YouTube sensation, passed away at the age of 107 in Gudiwada in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district. The news of her demise was confirmed after her official channel Country Foods posted the video of her ‘final journey’. Fondly known as Mastanamma, she shot to fame with her rustic cooking style and reviving unheard of local recipes—all in her ingenious village-cooking style. Her grandson K Laxman, a Hyderabad-based graphic designer, and his friend S Reddy, a video editor created and maintained the YouTube channel.
It all began in August 2016, when Laxman shared a video of Mastanamma, preparing brinjal curry for him and his friends. Much to their surprise, it went viral in no time and earned around 75 lakh views. The response motivated them to create more such videos and soon, we saw Mastanamma cooking up a storm with dishes such as egg dosa, river crab roast, and bamboo chicken biryani, and more. Traditional recipes aside, Laxman and Reddy even asked her to recreate chicken burger and KFC chicken—Mastanamma style!
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At the age of 107, Mastanamma is India’s oldest sensation on YouTube. One of the biggest reasons why she was so endearing was her passion for cooking, which kept her 12 lakh strong audience spellbound. The channel served as a platform to showcase local dishes and traditional cooking techniques. Cooking in an informal setting, mostly in an open field, with basic tools, techniques, and ingredients sourced locally, Mastanamma, without any formal training, beat the modern-day YouTube channels with her traditional and authentic cooking skills.
Besides food, Country Foods’ videos were peppered with anecdotes from Mastanamma’s life before she found fame online. One of them revealed the early struggles of the internet star. It said, she was born as Martamma in Kopale village. At the age of 11, her father died and she was adopted by a Muslim family, who named her Mastanamma. She got married the same year, and at 22, she lost her husband. At this point, she was left with five children. To make ends meet, after her husband’s death, Mastanamma worked as a labourer and then as a cook in a restaurant. She lived separately in a house, next to her only surviving son, David.
What melts our hearts the most is the love with which she serves the final dish to the people present–one of the many things that will be missed now that Mastanamma is gone.
Image courtesy: YouTube
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