Saturday, February 9, 2013


Okra:   What can I say about okra that hasn't been said 100 times before.  Probably not much, but here goes nonetheless.

Whoever the first brave soul was that upon seeing an okra pod and after more than likely making a quick mental analogy between the okra and an insect cocoon still went on to say, "I think I can eat that", I salute you. [1]

Especially since they then busted open that okra pod and found out that it was completely full of small white beads that remind you of moth balls and snot.  And they still went on to eat it. [2]

I want to like okra.  Really I do.  But okra tries so hard to make you not like it.

First of all it's green.  I mean really green in a way that other vegetables don't quite manage.  It's green like a plump grasshopper.  [3]  The green-ness calms down a bit when you cook it, but of course that just amps up some of the other problems, like the fore mentioned snot.

This stuff is straight up gross.  Dang yo, that's like six kinds of nasty. [4]  I know I keep making the snot reference but it is so perfectly apropos.  Okra innards are simultaneously exceedingly sticky and super slickery.   You would think cooking the okra would break it down and make the stuff dissolve, but all it does is make it worse.  Because the water or soup or gumbo or whatever it is the okra is cooked in does thin out the snot, but at the same time it just makes the whole thing a bigger bunch of thinner snot that is still just as slickery. [5]

To be honest I'm surprised that somebody hasn't made a trillion dollars my making some kind of adhesive based on okra snot.  Heck, you could even call it that. [6]

Even if there's enough other things in whatever it is you're eating that you can no longer taste or feel the okra scum, it's still there.  Then after you are done eating your bowl of gumbo or whatever, you are left with a weird film coating the inside of your mouth that you try real hard not to think about.

And again, there's still those odd mini-moth balls that I haven't even talked about.

Taste-wise, okra's pretty meh.  It's not offensive, but it's not something to write home about either. [7]  However, it does somehow imbue an entirely different flavor into the other things it's cooked with.  So, while the actual okra in gumbo don't seem to have any real flavor at all, making gumbo without okra would be a fail.

Of course I suspect the vast majority of okra is consumed in the traditional southern manner anyway.  Battered, fried and dunked in a sauce or dressing that completely hides the okra all together.  Which, is really just fine with me.  Because while okra is meh.  Ranch dressing is awesome.

Okra: C

p.s. - Here's an update that is being written before this post was even posted!  How's that for service!

There are now Okra Chips.  They are evidently freeze dried okra cut into slices and meant to be a "healthy" snack.  I cannot express how nasty that sounds.  But I am will to bet that even the freeze dried chips still have that wonderful okra snot sensation.

[1] - Man was that a sentence.  Please to excuse the inevitable bad punctuation.
[2] - Desperation or inspiration, I'm not sure which.
[3] - And be honest, if you busted an okra pod open and found a grasshopper inside would you really be surprised at all?
[4] - Hat tip to Dave Kellett there.  He's brilliant.  Have you read all of Sheldon?  I have.
[5] - You know I'm not exaggerating at all.
[6] - Move over Gorilla Glue, now there's Okra Snot!  Sticks to everything!  Except perhaps televangelists.
[7] - Dear Mom, Okra is pretty blah.  With love, your son.

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