I Heart Indies

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Thing About Okra

Nancy and I have grown okra for several years now, and the more I consider it, the more I realize okra is a miracle vegetable.  As I write this, it's the middle of September, and we're still bringing in a steady supply of okra every day.  If you've never seen okra grow, it starts with these bright yellow flowers with purple centers; overnight, it seems, the flowers turn into pods, ready for picking and dropping into gumbo.
Drought tolerant, heat tolerant, disease resistant - unappetizing to birds and insects - unbelievably prolific: yes, indeedy, okra is a miracle vegetable.

The thing they don't tell you about miracles, though, is that they're a two-way street.  You have your good miracles like manna in the dessert, and you have your bad miracles like the seven plagues of Egypt.  In my darker moments, I'm not sure to which category of miracles okra belongs, and I'm not even entirely certain they weren't mentioned as one of the seven plagues.  Wasn't it in there somewhere between the plague of frogs, and the river turning into blood, something about a plague of okra?  I swear, I recall a Bible verse, "And the okra came down in the land and it grew and grew, and the people picked it every day.  But, lo, there is too much of a good thing, for it is written, how much of okra does a man need?  And the Pharaoh was sorely vexed."

Perhaps not.

Fortunately okra is a very versatile vegetable.  There must be ninety-nine ways to fix it.  The problem is, after a hundred-twenty days of fixing it, the imagination begins to falter.  Okra broiled is delicious, okra and tomatoes, yummy, okra ratatouille, fine, okra pesto, an acquired taste, perhaps.  Okra smoothies, bad idea.  I've eaten so much okra, I have to stick sandpaper in my briefs to keep my pants from sliding down.  (Ah-ha-ha-ha!  I'm here til Wednesday night, folks.  Don't forget to tip your waitress.)

I should not grouse.  I really do love okra, and it won't keep coming in forever.  Still.  As I look out into my garden, I can count seven yellow blossoms right now turning into pods.  If Moses came to me at this moment and asked to let his people go, I wouldn't hesitate for a second.  I'd say, "Take some okra."

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