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:
Are you supposed to eat fried okra with a fork or your hands?
— The Lost Ogle (@TheLostOgle) March 1, 2020
As you can see, I got a bit ratioed for asking an innocent question. Joleen Chaney even questioned my Oklahoman credentials!
How are you from Oklahoma and not know this? Have you ever eaten fried okra before? I have so many questions.
— Joleen Chaney (@JoleenChaney) March 1, 2020
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: