Newsgroups: alt.slack

Subject: Okra

From: bbombere <bbombere@erols.com>

Date: Tue, 21 Oct 1997 15:15:10 -0400

 

It's the only vegetable that provides the minimum daily requirement

of both fuzz and slime. Its slipperiness ably serves soups, stews,

salads and sandwiches. So why isn't okra more popular?

 

True, it enjoyed a brief fling with fame as a key player in the creole

craze (you can't make gumbo without it). But it hasn't inspired any

books or movies, like fried green tomatoes. There are no okra

posters, such as those for chili and eggplant.

 

The three-volume Encyclopedia of Associations lists no Okra

Organization, no Amalgamated Okra Producers, no International

Okra Marketing Board.

 

A national okra spokesperson? "Ed McMahon here, for the pod that

needs no platitudes, the pod with panache." Nope. Ditto for throwing

rotten okra at a bad act. And okra anecdotes - anything come to

mind?

 

Okra just seems destined for obscurity.

 

True, it does bring its fair share of calls at the Clayton County

Office of the Georgia Extension Service, according to secretary

Hazel Coker - "mostly about problems in growing it."

She tells okra-culturists to regularly cut the pods from the plant,

"so it will keep producing." You can get a lot of pods from just a few

plants, she says, because okra produces from spring to the first

frost.

 

In most of Georgia that would be five or six months of slime time.

But the acreage in Georgia, at least in the fresh-for-market segment

(that doesn't include backyard gardens) is declining. In 1992, there

were 2,345 acres in okra, compared to 3,052 in 1990, according to

George Westberry, extension economist with the University of

Georgia. Most of that is in Clemson Spineless (no jokes about the

school's athletic teams, please), with the remainder Dwarf Early

Green.

 

By the way, the "spineless" means without the dense covering of

small spines that make okra downy. The pods still have fuzz, just

slightly less, Westberry notes. (There's no "slimeless" variety.)

Those 2,345 acres put okra in the solid middle of the state's fruit

and vegetable garden. It's 18th, sandwiched between sweet potatoes and

kale. (Watermelon's No. 1, at 40,000 acres.)

 

Even to get to that modest position, okra traveled a tortured trail.

According to food writer Elizabeth Schneider, it's related to cotton,

is native to Africa and came to these shores, via Brazil and the West

Indies, with slaves. It's a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C,

she adds. All this is in her book "Uncommon Fruits & Vegetables: A

Commonsense Guide" (Perennial, $16.95).

 

Even though she's an okra fancier (it has, she says, "become more

common than string beans in my home"), she still lists it in a volume

devoted to "uncommon" vegetables, right after nopales, which are

cactus pads.

 

And surely everybody is familiar with two of her recipes: gumbo and

okra stewed with tomatoes. To okraphiles like myself, those two are

as common as corn bread.

 

Though Schneider includes a dish I hadn't heard of, an okra salad

from Mr. B's, the new-American-creole restaurant in New Orleans,

she doesn't have a sandwich recipe. So I'll tell you how I make mine:

whole wheat bread, a soft flavorful cheese such as Havarti, and

peppery pickled okra, sliced lengthwise. Eat it fast, lest the okra

slide out.

 

That elusiveness was what first made okra a kitchen staple, according

to cookbooks of the past century. It was a natural thickening agent,

and recipes always urged boiling for an hour or two.

 

Schneider recommends steaming, but admits that it becomes less

mucilaginous cooked by that method. And I happen to like the

mucilaginousness (mucilaginosity?).

 

Not so a friend from Long Island, who had never heard of okra

before he moved here a dozen years ago. After a fried okra cake from

Thelma's, the downtown soul-food bastion, he was converted. Well,

partially converted, beyond communion but not quite ready for

confirmation. When I asked if he had tried it stewed, he looked

startled. "No way," he finally said.

 

I guess a green, fuzzy pod containing slime and tiny white seeds is

just too eccentric for mainstream tastes. Which is probably what

makes it a specialty here in the South, where eccentricity is not only

tolerated but nurtured.

 

Chef Boyardi

 

 

 

Newsgroups: alt.slack

Subject: Re: Okra

From: TarzAuntBea@AHHHHeeeYAHooooodlooodlyAAAAAHhh.GoodnessGracious! (RevLurch)

Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 20:09:40 GMT

 

bbombere <bbombere@erols.com> wrote:

 

>It's the only vegetable that provides the minimum daily requirement

> of both fuzz and slime. Its slipperiness ably serves soups, stews,

> salads and sandwiches. So why isn't okra more popular?

 

I've grown some okra TREES down here (GA). Three inches across at the

base and seven feet high, but the damn plants are prickly and make you

itch when you go to picking it, and it's snotty and tastes like shit

unless you fry it, then it tastes like barely palatable fried shit.

But my wife demands that I grow at least a few stalks of the nasty

stuff. It's one thing that really should have been sent back to

Africa. It's even worse than ughplant. The flowers are pretty, though.

But that doesn't redeem it. If it was up to me I'd make it illegal. I

can live without gumbo.

 

lurch

 

 

Newsgroups: alt.slack

Subject: Re: Okra

From: reverand@mindspring.com (Sister Pammy of the Soil)

Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 02:24:31 GMT

 

Ah, but Lurch, you haven't tried NUTRIA gumbo yet! What will those

clever Louisianians think up next?

 

 

Newsgroups: alt.slack

Subject: Re: Okra

From: cuthulu@prysm.net (whatever it is I'm against it)

Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 02:13:00 GMT

 

Thus Spake Sister Pammy of the Soil from MindSpring Enterprises:

 

~ Ah, but Lurch, you haven't tried NUTRIA gumbo yet! What will those

~ clever Louisianians think up next?

 

There are clever Louisianians?

 

 

Newsgroups: alt.slack

Subject: Re: Okra

From: toxiccow@mindspring.com (Sister Pammy of the Soil)

Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 18:32:50 GMT

 

 

How 'bout the women that eat dirt, a cupful or more a day when they

can find the right kind? Researchers in Louisiana have found that this

once-common practice has been driven underground in today's packaged

food culture. Seems smart to me--saves the trouble of growing

something in the dirt first. Why not go right to the source?

 

Imagine srpeading a thick, creamy hunk of clay over a piece of Wonder

bread, with maybe some collards in clay sauce on the side. Ummmm good!

 

I know, I got it, this will be great!!! How 'bout Red Clay Nutria

Gumbo???!!!

 

SPOTS--just ask reverand if I ain't a great cook

 

 

 

Newsgroups: alt.slack,framers.are.us-dig-grunt-sweat-eat-die-die-die

Subject: Re: Okra

From: bbombere <bbombere@erols.com>

Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 16:45:14 -0400

 

RiM wrote:

>

> Sister Pammy of the Soil wrote in message

> <3450e7a2.8479111@news.cphl.mindspring.com>...

> >

> >How 'bout the women that eat dirt

>

> they should try live sparrow. taste ok, hard to catch relative to dirt.

 

Pica is sometimes caused by mineral shortage,

in the book, "Cien Anos de Solidad" one of the

kids eats wall plaster for the calcium.

 

 

Newsgroups: alt.slack

Subject: Re: Okra

From: ksmith@softdisk.com (Kevan Smith)

Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 17:12:49 GMT

 

On Fri, 24 Oct 1997 18:32:50 GMT, toxiccow@mindspring.com (Sister

Pammy of the Soil) wrote:

 

>

>How 'bout the women that eat dirt, a cupful or more a day when they

>can find the right kind? Researchers in Louisiana have found that

this

>once-common practice has been driven underground in today's packaged

>food culture. Seems smart to me--saves the trouble of growing

>something in the dirt first. Why not go right to the source?

 

Yes, dirt-eating is a common enough practice in the rural areas of

Louisiana. BUT, it's far more common in Alabama and Mississippi. And

it's not really dirt per se, like the kind you'd grow things in. It's

a certain type of clay. For some reason, dirt-eating is more common

among women than men, like about a 99-1 ratio. And for some other

reson most women begin eating dirt during pregnancy.

 

 

 

Newsgroups: alt.slack

Subject: Re: Okra

From: "RiM" <dallastexas@earthlink.net>

Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 17:27:43 -0000

 

 

Kevan Smith wrote in message <3450d663.1946730@snews.zippo.com>...

>On Fri, 24 Oct 1997 18:32:50 GMT, toxiccow@mindspring.com (Sister

>Pammy of the Soil) wrote:

 

 

. For some reason, dirt-eating is more common

>among women than men, like about a 99-1 ratio. And for some other

>reson most women begin eating dirt during pregnancy.

 

im not in louis-annnna, but if this is accurate, if i can get all the wimmen

around here pregnant, it would mean a signigicant savings on the grocery

bill. we got lotsa dirt (clay/mud/dust/) i can feed more women than old

charles manson ever dreamed of.

 

time to go plant some *seeds of life these wimmin are looking hungry

 

Recycle, Recycle Recycle, the more you eat the more there is to eat!

 

 

RiM

 

 

Newsgroups: alt.slack

Subject: Re: Okra

From: nospamum@radix.net (MegaLiz)

Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 22:57:13 GMT

 

toxiccow@mindspring.com (Sister Pammy of the Soil) wrote:

 

: How 'bout the women that eat dirt, a cupful or more a day when they

: can find the right kind? Researchers in Louisiana have found that this

: once-common practice has been driven underground in today's packaged

: food culture. Seems smart to me--saves the trouble of growing

: something in the dirt first. Why not go right to the source?

 

Now THAT's something I could cultivate! A dirt garden! I'm already

THERE.