Yamuna Mataji

Yamuna Mataji

BACK TO GODHEAD'S first cooking column was penned by author and photographer Visakha Devi Dasi. Seasoned with wit and wisdom, her columns consistently served us with food for spiritual thought and practice. When she stopped writing the column, I was asked to take over. Now, seven years later, this column is my last.


From the beginning I felt unqualified to write the column. Though at the time I had been teaching spiritual cooking for years, had written national magazine articles and two cookbooks, and was a special food writer for the Washington Post, I viewed these qualifications as insignificant for this task. Back to Godhead is Srila Prabhupada's magazine dedicated to uplifting and spiritualizing humanity and to write for it requires different acumen. From the onset I turned to prayer, and have kept doing so.

My columns assumed a mainly cooking-class format, following sequential topics in the class textbook, Lord Krishna's Cuisine. Along with culinary principles of how, where, when, and why, I offered some detailed instructions I learned while serving as Srila Prabhupada's cook. I wanted newcomers to learn essential cooking techniques and take those techniques on a journey exploring devotional cooking. I wanted expert cooks to improve the purity and quality of everything related to cooking.

Now that the cooking course has reached the end of Lord Krishna's Cuisine, I've decided to stop writing the column and devote my energy to other projects I'm involved in for serving Srila Prabhupada.

Class Graduation

If you cooked through the entire class series job well done! Accept my congratulations along with a mentally sent Completion of Class certificate. By now you are attached to the means and the end, and are likely sharing the process with others.

Now your postgraduate homework: Vow that for the rest of your life, as far as possible, everyone you meet will receive at least a taste of Krsna-prasadam. And do your part to help inundate every town and village with Krsna-prasadam and the holy name.

Final Topic: Beverages

Water is the universal beverage of choice no liquid quenches thirst and aids digestion quite like it. Ayur-veda warns against drinking ice-cold water or other beverages; they're too shocking to the fire of digestion. Hot water or herbal tea after a meal helps with digestion. Water or tea sipped before and during a meal should be tepid or cool.

The class textbook has thirty-four beverage recipes, divided into three categories: Fruit Juices and Syrups, Chilled Dairy Drinks, and Warming Drinks. Most are a snap to make, so you won't need much time or effort to work through them.

For the letters I've received with exciting stories of revelation and appreciation, a heartfelt thank you. And for now, a farewell to all my readers. Thank you for the honor of sharing time with you in Krsna consciousness.


Yamuna Devi is the author of the award-winning cookbooks Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking and Yamuna's Table. She is a regular contributor to The Washington Post and Vegetarian Times.

Fennel-ginger Tea

Herbal tea is popular as a refreshment or for its medicinal value. This recipe is for one of my favorite sipping teas, good for most constitutions and at any time of the day.

Serves 2

2 cups water
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
honey to taste

Bring the water to a boil and add the fennel seeds and ginger. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer 4-5 minutes. Strain into a warmed cup and sweeten with honey. Offer to Krsna.