Madurai

No one goes hungry from Palamedu

Food for the weary: Women cooking food for visitors at Palamedu on Monday.

Food for the weary: Women cooking food for visitors at Palamedu on Monday.   | Photo Credit: R. Ashok

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Specifically made for tired travellers so that they can re-energise themselves

For the women of Palamedu, the day breaks at 2 a.m. on the day of jallikattu. Pots and pans clang and the aroma of ‘Mochapayaru kozhambu’ (lima bean curry) fills the air as houses across the village prepare food in large quantities on the day after Pongal.

“At Palamedu, no one goes hungry. Anyone is allowed to enter a house and ask for food. We usually prepare a variety of items and all the women in the house - four or five of them - chip in. The items include rasam or sambar, chicken curry, vegetables and mochapayaru kozhambu,” says R.C. Alangaraselvi, a resident.

The kozhambu is a speciality that is prepared with spices, including turmeric and pepper, indigenous to the village and is considered a protein supplement. This is specifically made so that tired travellers can re-energise, says Ms. Alangaraselvi.

Preparatory work for the food begins the night before jallikattu. A. Chitradevi, a resident for 23 years says all the women visit the vadivasal (entry point) by 8 p.m. the previous night. They pray for injury-free bulls and tamers while also wishing for the well-being of villagers. This is followed by a puja done for the temple cow - Manjamalai Maadu. After this, they cut vegetables procured in bulk and marinate other food items.

In the early hours, the women from all families take the kitchen by storm.

Here, there is no discrimination. It is common for neighbours to cook in the same kitchen and serve food to officials and visitors. “If we see tired policemen, we pack food for them and send it through our sons,” says S. Jamuna.

During the event, women watch the jallikattu from the sidelines. It is easy to spot them flocking terraces and holing up in front of television sets in their homes. Do they not miss the live action? “We’ve watched jallikattu from far away for many years and feel safer here. I hope we are not missing much,” adds Ms. Jamuna.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 6:06:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/no-one-goes-hungry-from-palamedu/article22447029.ece

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