Giving Okra its Due

Giving Okra its Due

Okra is an important crop on a couple of levels. It feeds and helps sustain a lot of people — and it also represents an era of humankind’s potential for deep, deep cruelty. We should recognize the origin of okra and give credit where credit is due.

A member of the hibiscus family (and related to cotton), okra is a five-cornered slender green “pod” about four inches long. The seeded veg is key to giving Louisiana gumbo its thick texture, for instance.

Originating in either Asia or eastern Africa, okra made its way to North America — and specifically the southern United States — during the awful slave trade.

In that context, okra is an ingredient — and gumbo as a dish — that is not necessarily southern American but rather African. Regardless, it is delicious when prepared properly: such as deep-fried in buttermilk and served with ancho chili ranch sauce ($9), like at Kitchener’s new Grand Truck Saloon.

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