"The Vanishing Kodavas" Mushrooms & Monsoons
With Kaveri Ponnapa
Hello and welcome to the February episode of The Storied Recipe. I’m here today with an episode that was well worth waiting for.
Kaveri Ponnapa wrote The Vanishing Kodavas - a deep cultural study of her people group who were devoted, above all else, to the rolling hills and deep, dense forests of their land, Kodagu.
The origins of this remote & warlike people are unknown and their history is purely oral - they have no written language. Against those odds, Kaveri embarked on the immense past of not only recording, but understanding and interpreting, her people’s culture and customs.
The Kodavas remain in existence and they keep many of these customs intact - not by isolating themselves, but rather by inviting and encouraging neighbors and descendants who live in the modern world to return, celebrate, and learn.
In addition to stories from her people and a discussion of her laborious writing process, today Kaveri is sharing a delicious mushroom curry recipe with us. This dish is emblematic of all that is vanishing (or is in danger of vanishing) - the customs of the Kodavas, monsoon season, and fields covered with mushrooms and moss as far as the eye could see.
Welcome to Kaveri and thank YOU for being here to listen.
- Why Kaveri wears saris almost exclusively - the art and siginificance of making saris
- Who are the Kodavas and why are they vanishing
- Warlike traditions that persist in customs
- The stunning hills and forests of Kodagu and land as the highest ideal in ancient Kodava
- Women's role in this ancient people group, including her aunt and mother
- Kodava as home to Kaveri
- The importance of land laws to preserving a way of life
- The significance of community when maintaining their traditions
- How the Kodavas were betrayed by their own
- Mushroom Curry - the one secret ingredient
- Her grandmother's kitchen with the giant wood fireplace and full of earthenware
- Is flavor different cooked in earthenware?
- Mushrooms that looked like snowfall, mushrooms that were hallucinogenic
- Drastic changes from a monsoon season to barely a monsoon season
- The medicinal plant that grew wild in Kodagu during mosoon season
- Book writing process: Combining academic/historical and folk knowledge
- What is at stake if the Kodavas vanish entirely?
Also listen on:
This Episode's Storied Recipe
A quick & easy, creamy, earthy well-balanced dish made from pantry ingredients.
How To Contact Kaveri Ponnapa
Try coffee from Kaveri's home of Kodagu! Bean Song Coffee