In Depth

Mastanamma: Indian Youtube sensation dies aged 107

Great-grandmother from rural village won fans all over the world with her cooking videos

Indians are mourning the death of a 107-year-old woman who became an unlikely Youtube star.

Karre Mastanamma became an internet sensation last year after her great-grandson Lakshman started filming her as she cooked her favourite recipes over an outdoor fire.

His Youtube channel, Country Foods, soon attracted more than a million followers, who shared their admiration and appreciation for “Granny” Mastanamma.

The centenarian grew up in a remote village in India’s south-eastern Andhra Pradesh state, and married at the age of 11. She lost four of her five children to cholera and was widowed at 22. Until her death she lived alone “in a house adjacent to the house of her sole living son David”, The Hindu reports.

Despite receiving no formal education and spending her life working long days in the fields as a farm labourer, Mastanamma showed a creative flair for cooking and became renowned in the area for her unique recipes, which reflected the produce and flavours of the Andhra Pradesh region, the Times of India reports.

Her granddaughter Rajshri acted as her sous chef, but otherwise she remained proudly independent in the kitchen, including peeling tomatoes and ginger with her bare hands.

For many fans, her use of fresh local ingredients cooked from scratch proved a refreshing contrast from the modern food industry.

Her Youtube videos brought her celebrated cooking to an audience far beyond her friends and neighbours. Her most popular video, which shows her cooking chicken curry inside a watermelon, has racked up more than 11 million views.

Last year, The Week India reported that Mastanamma was “thrilled at the overnight popularity and attention she has been receiving”. For her 106th birthday, Youtube admirers sent her sarees and bangles, as well as money which she used to cook a feast for 40 people.

As news of her passing spread on social media, “YouTube was flooded with the message of Rest in Peace”, says the Times of India.

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