May 17, 2017

Meet YouTube’s Newest Sensation: A 106 Year Old Great Grandmother

Meet Mastanamma. She’s 106 years old and can cook up a storm. She’s also a Youtube celebrity.

In her short time on the video sharing site (she’s only had her channel for 10 months) she’s already amassed more than 300 000 subscribers and 52 million views.

Mastanamma is from the remote Gudivada village in Andhra Pradesh, one of India’s south eastern states. Her native tongue is Telugu and she doesn’t speak English, but that doesn’t matter because her cooking transcends all languages.

The great grandmother doesn’t use any fancy equipment, or even an indoor kitchen.

She is usually seen cooking in big metal pans over a simple stove and slicing food with an old Indian knife known as a ‘Bonti’.

A Bonti is different to a traditional knife, and can be puzzling to Western cooks, in that the blade curves up from the ground in front of its seated user.

Her videos are usually outdoors, surrounded by younger family members eagerly waiting for her finished dishes.

She uses firewood and natural fuels to cook her delicious meals and she can often be seen sitting in an open field, peeling the vegetables with her fingernails.

And she never measure anything, there are no cups or teaspoons in sight. Rather, she uses her eyes to measure all her ingredients.

She has a wide range of recipes, from traditional Indian dishes, with vegetables, lentils, fish, prawns and eggs, to some more unconventional recipes, like her famous watermelon chicken.

She even tries her hand at Western dishes too – she has videos that include recipes for french-fry style chips and chicken burgers with slices of melting cheese.

Mastanamma used to work as a professional chef at her son’s hotel, and didn’t understand what Youtube was at first.

She’s a reluctant star, her videos are filmed by her great-grandson, K Laxman, and his friend, Srinath Reddy, who originally started the channel for “bachelor recipes”.

Aside from her cooking, Mastanamma has led a very interesting life story. She was married at 11 and widowed at 22. She has outlived her husband and four of her five children.

In the video about her life, she says she used to be able to carry 100kg bags of rice on her back.  

She has no official birth certificate, but according to her and her family she is approximately 106 years old. She currently lives alone in a small house next to her remaining son’s, but is always surrounded by family.

The audience definitely loves her, her videos are filled with comments from viewers saying how much she reminds them of their own grandmothers.

When asked what vital advice she would give her viewers, she laughs, “cook a lot of curries and eat well”.

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