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My Dear Yamuna,

Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated 15th June, 1970, and noted the contents. So it is very good news that the atmosphere of London ISKCON is swelling in preparation of Rathayatra festival. Regarding your first question, while Lord Jagannatha is on His Ratha, and for the duration of the festivities for eight days following, bhuni kicrie may be offered along with other preparations. So for Rathayatra day feast should consist of bhuni kicrie which you make by first frying the dahl and rice in ghee. Also fry the vegetable with little ghee and massala. Then after the kicrie is cooked add some sugar, not enough to make it sweet, but just a little sweet taste, and some nutmeg, cinnamon, and other sweet spices. In this way it is like push pana. Other preparations may be a fruit salad, sweet rice, puris, a chutney, and a vegetable which is neither wet nor dry.

There is no need of a curtain for covering the Lord as He is being carried to His throne. For the eight days following July 5th the best thing is that Their Lordships remain in some new place very gorgeously decorated for Them and the program should be as much offering of feasts and Kirtana as possible. If it is not possible that They shall be able to remain in some new temple place, then they may return to London temple. I had suggested to Syamasundara. that this could be very nicely done at the chapel house at George's, but I have not heard from him in this connection.

It is very nice that you have decorated Their Lordships with complete new outfits just befitting Their excursion. I am enclosing also a description of the sankirtana parties and how they should be arranged for surrounding the London Ratha. I have received the tape recording of London devotees chanting and thank them all very much.

Hope this will meet you in good health.

Your ever well-wisher,
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Srila Prabhupada Letter to Yamuna dasi, 06-24-70

Like all things, how one goes about planning and preparing for a feast is a matter of personal style. Some cooks do it ‘on the fly’, having only a loose idea of which preparations they hope to make, and changing the menu whenever time or an absence of ingredients moves them to do so. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the planning perfectionists who know exactly what they intend to do, and change the menu only under threat of catastrophe. I try to stay somewhere in the middle of these two.

I relish the process of thinking ahead about how to prepare a most wonderful feast for a particular festival or offering. I usually start several weeks in advance by finding the passages in Srila Prabhupada’s books where he describes the personalities and places where events took place during the Lord’s lila. Srila Prabhupada gave us amazing detail, not only about Lord Krsna’s lila pastimes and the philosophical truths we can understand from each, but also about what prasad preparations were offered by the devotees, how the foodstuffs were prepared, and which were most favorably received by the Lord and his pure devotees.

Yamunva devi’s cookbook,“Lord Krishna’s Cuisine", is another great reference for feast planning. In it, she gives the most valuable detailed instruction on ingredients, processes, and historical background for Indian dishes. Kurma dasa has also written a number of wonderful cookbooks, and you’ll find them all listed in the Recipes section.

Once the menu has been planned the real work begins, as ingredients are gathered, advance preparations are made, and the cooking starts in earnest. What follows is a description of the system I’ve developed over the years, using Excel spreadsheets to keep track of feast planning. This helps me to plan reasonably complex feast menus that can be executed mostly solo over a few days, with assistance on the ‘last mile’ of festival day. I've found that this system allows me to fully enjoy the feast preparation process with minimal anxiety and exhaustion (which is becoming more important as I get older). It helps me manage complicated arrangements while staying fixed on my Krsna Consciousness as I work. And, it carries me through to the offering arotika rested and relaxed enough to be fully absorbed in the program and wonderful association of devotees.

Menu Planning & Bhoga Organization

Preparation Schedules