By Usha Srikumar.
In Dwapara Yuga the Kurukshetra war, between the Pandavas and the Kauravas was considered as the mother of all battles. In this war nobody could remain neutral. You had to be either on the Kaurava side or the Pandava side. All the kings – hundreds of them – aligned themselves on one side or the other.
The King of Udupi, however chose to remain neutral. He spoke to Sree Krishna and said,
‘Those who fight battles have to eat. I will be the caterer for this battle.’
Sree Krishna said, ‘Fine. Somebody has to cook and serve, so you do it.’ They say over 500,000 soldiers had gathered for the battle. The battle lasted 18 days, and every day, thousands were dying. So the Udupi King had to cook that much less food or otherwise, it would go waste. Somehow, the catering had to be managed. If he kept cooking for 500,000 people it wouldn’t work. Or if he cooked for less, soldiers would go hungry.
The Udupi King managed it very well. The amazing thing was, every day, the food was exactly enough for all the soldiers, who were alive, and no food was wasted. After a few days, people were amazed, „How is he managing to cook the exact amount of food!“ No one could know how many people had died on any given day. By the time they could have taken account of these things, the next day morning would have dawned and again it was time to fight.
There was no way the caterer could know how many thousands had died each day, but every day he cooked exactly the volume of food necessary for the rest of the Armies. When someone asked him, „How do you manage this?“ the Udupi King replied, ‘Every night I go to Sree Krishna’s tent.
„Sree Krishna likes to eat boiled groundnuts in the night, so I peel them and after counting, keep them in a bowl. He eats just a few peanuts, and after he is done, I count how many He has eaten. If it’s 10 peanuts, I know tomorrow 10,000 people will be dead. So the next day, when I prepare lunch, I cook for 10,000 people less. Every day I count these peanuts and cook accordingly, and it turns out right.“ Now you know why sree Krishna is so nonchalant during the whole Kurukshetra war.
Since Sree. Krishna has given them the cooking job, they accept it as the Blessings of Sree Krishna. Hence,
many of the Udupi people are traditionally caterers, even today.
Udupi cuisine adheres strictly to the Satvik tradition of Indian vegetarian cuisine, using no onions or garlic, as well as no meat, fish, or shellfish.
It comprises dishes made primarily from grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits. The variety and range of dishes is wide, and a hallmark of the cuisine involves the use of locally available ingredients