AUTHOR SUNDAY – Can you imagine a time when okra was not a food to eat?


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Unhappy Gardener


Joyce Ray Wheeler

Most every family in my childhood had a garden big enough to grow beans for canning and corn for creamed corn as we called when those tender kernels were cut from the cob. My dad had a large garden although his profession had nothing to do with gardening.okra plant

At the time my father was gardening in rural Kentucky, okra had not been introduced as a vegetable there. Someone gave him enough okra plants to plant an entire long row. He planted them proudly and watched them produce those interesting pods. Then he happily picked those pretty things and carried them to Mother to cook.

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basket of okra

She asked around and someone said, “I am not sure, but I think you lay a few pods on your green beans while they are cooking.” Daddy couldn’t wait as he sat down eagerly waiting for this specialty. After the first slimy okra pod crossed his lip, he spit out, rose from the table and hurried to the garden. In ten short minutes he had pulled every plant from the long okra row.slimy okra

A year later my husband and I moved to Tallahassee, Florida where I soon learned the art of frying okra. When Mom and Dad visited us in Florida, Dad loved fried okra. When he left he was eagerly planning to go home and plant another row.

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