TLO Poll: Do you eat fried okra with your hands, or a fork???

On Saturday night, after finishing up some trivia at Anthem, I found myself all by my lonesome at the bar of a local restaurant not too far from my house.

I ordered my late night dinner, and just like I did when I’d accompany my grandparents to Furr’s as a child, I went with a double-helping of okra as a side. The order came out pretty fast. I quickly grabbed a couple of scalding pieces, gave them a good fresh blow, and tossed them in my mouth, slightly burning my palate in the process. It was totally worth it.

After a few minutes of pecking away, I did a quick look around the restaurant and noticed someone at a table behind me had also ordered okra. I noticed this because they were eating it with a fork!

Like most Oklahomans, I’ve been eating fried okra my entire life. Out of habit, I’ve always used my hands like it was popcorn. Maybe the edible I took after trivia was starting to kick in, but I immediately became paranoid. “Have I been doing it wrong my entire life? Am I primitive monster who’s lost all dinner table etiquette?”

I did what I normally do in those situations and asked Twitter:

As you can see, I got a bit ratioed for asking an innocent question. Joleen Chaney even questioned my Oklahoman credentials!

Hmmmn. Notice JoJo didn’t answer the question? Maybe she’s now questioning her okra eating technique? It’s not as cut and dried as whether you spit or swallow watermelon seeds, is it JoJo?

Anyway, most people responded to my tweet with, “Yes,” which really didn’t help things. Yes to hands, or yes to fork? As a result – and since my daughter is home sick today and I need to mail-in an article – I thought I would ask our okra-loving TLO following for their opinion on the right way to eat okra. Vote early and vote often:

[poll id=”1058″]

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30 Responses


  1. I cannot believe anyone can even ask such a question..hands always!


  2. I cannot believe anyone can even ask such a question..hands always! Must be a Yankee.


  3. When you see someone eating fried okra with a fork, slap the shit out of them.


  4. How about a poll for lamb fries?

    You might get them mixed up, u’no.


  5. Anything that’s fried and bite sized is best eaten with your hands in my experience. I’ve never eaten fried okra with a fork.


  6. Fork when sharing with other people or when dunking in ranch/bbq, hands if it’s all mine 😁


  7. If you’re eating it with your hands, then you’ve never had the real, cut off the stalk with a pocket knife- rolled in cornmeal and flour, then Granny- fried in a skillet with Crisco until it’s semi-blackened and crunchy- kind. Eat that with your fingers and all you get is a hand full of cornmeal and burnt fingers. That dipped and breaded shit you get in the restaurant doesn’t even count. If you’re eating that, then you’re the Yankee. Reach for mine with your hands and I’ll stab you with the fork.


    1. Yes! Yes! Yes! Miss my grandma’s fried okra 🙁


    2. That was my Mama’s fried okra. Thanks for that memory.


    3. this is absolutely correct.
      every detail down to the cornmeal (Shawnee cornmeal) and the Crisco.
      Okra gets nice and crunchy – not soft and gooey like the flour-dipped tasteless stuff you get around here.

      mix in some diced onions too.

      I have never found good southern cornmeal in a restaurant here.


      1. *okra I mean
        not cornmeal


    4. Yep. Iron skillet okra is the best. That’s the way both my grandmother and my mother cooked okra.


    5. Oh no Huggie! I ate my Momma’s fried okra as fast as it hit the plate. With three brothers there wasn’t time to hunt a fork up. Maybe that’s why forty years later I have no feelings in my finger tips.


    6. You said exactly what I was thinking. Thank you!


    7. Thank the stars someone understands real fried okra! I’ve only found one place and in this state that makes it correctly and that is Eischens (sp?) in Okarche.


  8. Who the hell eats okra with a fork?


  9. Hands only. Pan-fried with a little cornmeal.


  10. hands !!!! patrick, when you said “like popcorn” that’s exactly how you eat it. think of french fries too.


  11. With recent public health concerns about hands being a perti dish of any number of diseases, I’ve switched to eating fried okra with my toes.

    Never a fork.


  12. Okra, potatoes and onions shook in a bag with cornmeal and fried to scalding hot crunchyness. Those were the days.


  13. Was this the guy eating okra with the fork, Patrick???

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PaZfrnqLmg


  14. I use a fork at first when the okra is very hot. When it cools I use my fingers.


  15. Cast iron skillets were made for frying Okra 😋


  16. I moved here from Kansas, so I’m MUCH more sophisticated. I would NEVER eat okra using my hands. So fork y’all!


  17. Theaters should sell fried okra in tubs like popcorn.


    1. This!


  18. Hands, but not my own hands.

    I have engaged a professional butler from England, Nigel Worthington, and he is on call 24-7-365. When I gets me the okra cravin’, I ring him up. “Nigel, I must okra!” I tell him. He flies over from Merry Olde, puts on his white butler gloves, and hand feeds me. It looks like a dog trainer rewarding a hound with treats, granted, but I don’t suffer the indignity of greasy fingers. Then he flies back to England.

    It runs me about $7900 per bowl of okra, flights and salary included, so I don’t indulge all that often. Once or twice a month and I’m good. Plus, bonus: Nigel hates fried okra, so I don’t be worried about him stealing, and what-not.


  19. This is Oklahoma We use our hands for okra ribs fried chicken etc


  20. If I’m eating something with a fork, and there’s fried okra next to it, I might use that fork to enjoy okra. No rules for okra as long as you eat it!


  21. Fried okra IS Oklahoma popcorn. Would you eat popcorn with a fork????

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