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Recipe for success

In a career spanning 50 years, Mrs. K. M. Mathew has taken the recipes of Kerala to glamourous dining rooms across the globe.


For Annamma Mathew, it's a celebration with a difference. In a career spanning 50 years, she has taken the recipes of Kerala to glamorous dining rooms across the globe.

Annamma Mathew is known to most Malayalis as `Mrs. K M Mathew,' the chief editor of the largest selling women's magazine, Vanitha. She has endeared herself to women through her column, `Paachaka Vidhi', in the daily, Malayala Manorama. She has also authored more than 20 books on cookery.

In the foreword to one of her cookery books, Mrs. K. M. Mathew says: "My interest in cuisine came very early in life. George Philip, my father, was a gourmet, who spent much of his free time in our kitchen and filled it with amazingly appetising smells. He instilled in me an abiding interest in the art of cooking and taught me the magic of flavours."

Her father-in-law, Mammen Mappilai, encouraged her to write a column in the Malayala Manorama. Her first recipe appeared in June, 1953; the editors "sandwiched a recipe for mutton between two reports on Nehru and Churchill".

She never looked back. With the support from her husband and chief editor of the Malayala Manorama, K. M. Mathew, she scaled heights of fame. Convinced that nutritious food need not be rich or expensive, she experimented with ordinary and available ingredients and evolved hundred of recipes that were approved by all sections of people.

As Princess Aswathi Thirunal Gauri Lakshmi Bayi of erstwhile Travancore, in her message to one of Mrs. Mathew's books, said: "Her range is vast and geared to suite every budget, from the luxurious to the spartan. While many honours have come her way, perhaps the greatest recognition is the unwavering demand for and acceptance of her books."

However, her commitment to the cause of women is not confined to her efforts in helping them with cooking

As the founder chief editor of the largest selling Malayalam women's magazine, Vanitha, she has contributed much in giving the women of Kerala an identity of their own. She has made available the columns of Vanitha to any woman who had something to say, thereby unmasking the hitherto hidden personality of Malayali women.

She is also involved in social activities through the Kasturba Social Welfare Centre (Kottayam), which aims at empowering women. Above all, she is a connoisseur of arts - be it music, dance or flower arrangement.

Her works have won her a number of awards including the Rachel Thomas Award (1992), Vigjanadeepam Puraskar (1994), instituted by Ponnara Sreedhar Foundation, and the Nirmithi Kendra Award (1996).

GEORGE JACOB

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