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Making Okra Fanatics

Making Okra Fanatics

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

It’s interesting what you find in the food sections of historic African-American owned and operated newspapers such as the Baltimore Afro-American. Georgian native India Lee’s okra recipe had been so impressive that the food editor wrote a profile of her before sharing her recipe with readers. In 1929 Lee moved with her parents to New York City where she married Dr. Norman Lee. She enjoyed community service working with young women at a YWCA, and did volunteer work with a  civic organization called the Top Notches’ Club, and with a hospital.  Many people do not like okra, but supposedly India Lee’s recipe has converted many into okra fanatics.

Okra Gumbo (as suggested by Mrs. India Lee)

Ingredients

1 quart of okra

1 can of tomatoes or six medium fresh tomatoes

2 tablespoons of bacon fat

3 medium slices of ham cut in small pieces

1 teaspoon salt

Pepper to taste

Instructions

Wash okra with stiff brush, cut in slices. Mix okra with tomatoes and meat; add seasoning and cook in double boiler for twenty minutes. If using fresh tomatoes, scald tomatoes until skins break, peel and cut in small pieces; proceed with same process as using canned tomatoes Serve over buttered rice. (Baltimore Afro-American, 1938)

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