ISKCON Prabhupada Village

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By Madan Mohan Mohini dasi
September 29, 2017

In 1997 one of our local friends approached me and asked if we (our Hare Krsna community) would like to take part in the yearly Stokes Stomp. Without even asking what the Stomp was, I answered yes because it sounded like a nice opportunity to meet people.

Upon inquiry I found out it was a festival along the Dan River, just a few miles from our community, where the locals take part in an hour long, down-home parade the first day. (In the first years we took part with lively harinams/chanting parties and even the oxen led the way a couple of times). On both days of the Stomp weekend, vendors sell their hand-crafted items, listen to live blue grass music and eat funnel cakes and numerous unmentionables. And they have a children’s area. Because many of the locals had already become accustomed to some of our cooking, we were specifically asked to set up a food booth. My husband, Sivananda prabhu, and I purchased everything to jump start the program and from the profits each year we would purchase more things that were needed. Now everything goes through our ISKCON temple, which is a non-profit organization.

After careful thought, we decided upon pakoras (batter-fried vegies) and tomato chutney (a sweet and spicy sauce or dip), all to be freshly prepared. Actually, for the first couple of years, we brought all the ingredients out to the booth and made the chutney and cut up the vegies for the pakoras on the spot. It didn’t take long to see how much work that was, so we decided from then on to prepare whatever we could ahead of time. And this year we expanded a bit: Abhirama Sakha and Syama Gauri and family joined us from Charlotte with their homemade, on-the-spot samosas, which did very well. Also, Michael Terry surprised us with some new cooking utensils, which made things much easier.

I must say that at first people were a bit afraid to try something different so we put out little samples of pakoras for people to try (which we still do). I figured that even if people didn’t buy them, they would at least have had prasadam (pure vegetarian food cooked with devotion and offered to Lord Krsna). Well, much to our surprise, the people loved both the pakoras and tomato chutney! Deep red sauce, made with fresh tomatoes, lavished on chunks of vegies, which had been dipped in a delicious batter and deep-fried in ghee. Wow! Just by seeing people walking around and eating pakoras, others are attracted to come to come and get some (and often there are lines of people waiting to purchase them). No question – their fragrance and appetizing appearance is a real draw to the booth.

People are fascinated watching how we fry the pakoras in ghee (clarified butter), especially in such large woks – and they have become addicted to our tomato chutney, which we now sell in separate jars, along with dry batter and instructions on what to do to make pakoras. People tell me they wait all year long to get our food and that it’s the only thing they’ll eat at the Stomp, that it’s the best food. One year a woman came to the booth and said she wanted some of whatever we were selling. I understood that she didn’t know what pakoras were and asked if she’d like to try a sample. Her answer was no – she explained that when she had gotten out of her car in the parking lot, she smelled something wonderful and had just followed her nose! One young woman told us that she loved the chutney so much that she had a dream about eating it! And another girl told us that the chutney was so good that she could just put it in a cup and drink it through a straw all day! And an older gentleman, who asked what we had (and we always give an explanation of what everything is) kept saying, “Pak a roze? Pak a roze?”, which gave us something to remember and laugh about through the years.

So many stories, appreciations and new friends that it spurred us to continue on each year. It has now been 20 years since our first Stokes Stomp. Those who have helped through the years know who they are and how much they are appreciated, for without them, the pakoras and chutney would not happen!

The following is a poem I spontaneously wrote after the Stomp this year, accompanied by some pictures. I had so much fun writing the poem that I want to share it with all of you. It is to be recited with a good beat (maybe there’s a name for it but I don’t know what it is) and a heavy Southern accent. That’s what makes it fun! Hare Krsna. MadanMohanMohini dasi


This mornin’ when I got up and rolled outta bed,

I was a feelin’ so sore and a mighty dead.

I thought I’d lost my mind, it was all in my head,

‘Cause everythin’ looked like it was tomata red!

It was chutney and pakoras to them people we all fed,

They loved ‘em all, that’s what everybody said!

Saturday’s nice weather, but so few was a comin’

We was all a bit bored and a little bit bummin’.

Sunday was so good, so we was a hummin’

Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna to the sound of the drummin’.

Now I really don’t know if we made much money,

But Prabhupada said, the money is the honey!

The chutney was a good and not very runny

And we laughed a lot – it was all very funny!

To ya’ all who helped I give a great big thanks

For a workin’ so hard on them river banks.

For a cookin’ and a sellin’ late into the night

And a cleanin’ and a scrubbin’ – you were outta sight!

Thanks for your help, here’s appreciation

You helped me so much I don’t need a vacation!

So to say it all, here’s my summation -

We’re all a feelin’ - prasadam elation!

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