How does one feed the 100,000 people expected each of the four days of the Amritavarsham50 Celebrations? That’s three free meals a day for four days all prepared from scratch!
Amma has overseen all the details of the cooking, from ordering 80 tons of rice, 15 tons of curry, 125 tons of cracked wheat and tons of raw vegetables. Thousands of devotee cooks are instructed on preparing simple recipes that need to be expanded thousands of times. Amma has even specified how to chop the vegetables and what recipes to use and how much salt to use.
Five or six newly constructed massive huts, totalling approximately the square footage of a city block, line along the road near International Stadium. They are being readied for the cooking teams. Cooking vats big enough to fit at least 10 people lay stacked in the middle of one such hut.
Viraga, a young woman from Los Gatos, California, tells of her seva experience of making and flipping 3,000 veggie burgers—half the batch the Western Canteen is expecting to sell during the event.
She started her seva at the AIMS Hospital kitchen at 5 p.m. in the evening and worked straight through until 8 a.m. the next morning. It was heavy physical work, she says, demanding strength and fortitude in the intense cooking heat of the kitchen.
Her team mixed five batches of veggie-burger mix in vats with a radius of five-feet and a depth of three. Potatoes had to be peeled and cooked. Cabbage and carrots had to be grated and tofu cut up. Fifty-pound bags of beans had to be washed thoroughly because they contained small stones that needed removing.
After the prep work was done, all ingredients were then placed in the vats. Using a huge metal spoon, all the ingredients were stirred together. At a certain point, it became too taxing for the women to handle the spoon, as the mixture became very stiff. Men were then asked to come and complete the process.
The seva team then began flipping the burgers on the grills. After cooking, they were stacked on trays and packed in packages ready for the freezer.
“Doing this seva helped me to develop inner strength,” said Viraga. “With Amma’s help and guidance, She helped me get past my physical and mental limitations.”