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Possession of Okra While Shopping White Up North


Fried okra, this and other recipes below
Last week I delivered a paper titled “Juke Joints, Rum Shops, and Honky-Tonks:  The Politics of Leisure in Agrarian Societies,” at Program in Agrarian Studies Colloquium at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. The night before my talk I had the pleasure of sitting next to Yale History Professor Glenda Gilmore, a white southerner born and raised in North Carolina. Glenda shared a very interesting okra story that in part addresses a question I’ve raised in my work on food history. Is there any difference between how white and black southerners have eaten over the years? Glenda attended undergrad, graduate school, and taught in the Carolinas until taking her current job in The History Department at Yale in 1994. Like New York City, New Haven has a sizeable population of African Americans that migrated to the city from the south between the 1940s and the 1960s, many of them from the Carolinas and Virginia. One day Glenda picked some okra to cook for dinner in the produce section of a New Haven super market and noticed an older black women puzzled by her selection of this very southern food plant, which by the way comes from Africa. “The women followed me around the supermarket to the checkout counter,” says Glenda understanding right away what was going and chuckling on the inside about being tailed for possession of okra while shopping white. Then the women’s curiosity got the best of her and at the checkout line she asked Glenda, “Accuse me, but what are you going to do with that?” pointing to the okra. Glenda had not spoken until then, and she replied with in a deep but natural Carolina accent, “I am going to do the same thing you are going to do,” and smiled. When the African American women heard her southern accent, she understood and the two of them smiled, then laughed out loud and bonded over their mutual love of okra. Here is typical southern way to cook okra from your garden, farmers market, or grocery store below as well as other recipes. My daughter just reminded me how much she and her older brother love when I cook southern fried okra.

Southern fried okra recipe: http://www.olsouthrecipes.com/okra.html

 Okra recipes:




Sweetest okra recipe (vegan): http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=10974.0

Brazilian Gumbo

Eating From One's Garden in Brazil