Vs. Okra

Posted: September 18, 2011 in Food
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Here’s the deal.  I recognize the fact that if one of your worst childhood memories is being forced to eat okra that you’ve had a pretty fortunate life.  That being said, it must have been fairly traumatic because the experience still haunts my dreams.  I was probably seven or eight years old.  Living in Dallas.  What my family lacked in material wealth we more than made up for with love.  At least, that’s what I thought until the night my parents force fed me this nasty little vegetable.  It was green.  It was fried.  It was breaded.  It was one of the most unpleasant things I ever had the misfortune of introducing to my young taste buds.

Look, I could have called this blog Makya McBee Vs. The Foods He Doesn’t Like and have come up with just as many topics.  I’m the pickiest eater I know.  I don’t like anything spicy.  I don’t like anything sour.  I pretty much try to avoid flavor.  There are four to five things I enjoy eating – the rest is all very difficult for me to stomach.  I’m pretty sure I have hypersensitive taste buds.  (I remember, for example, a purportedly bland chili that my dad told me was not at all spicy that felt, to me, like swallowing fire).  But few things compare to that dreaded okra.

Bucket of raw Abelmoschus esculentus (okra) pods


Abelmoschus Esculentus (yeah, doesn’t sound as tasty when you use the Latin) is a fuzzy, green, ribbed pod.  Oh, unappetizing in so many ways.  Okra is ribbed for nobody’s pleasure.  Okra feels like a hairy spider’s leg.  Okra is mucilaginous.  Yep, nothing says delicious like mucilaginous.  And it’s just what it sounds like – this is what’s responsible for the slimy quality of okra.  And hairy, slimy, green vegetable + seven year old Makya = gag reflex. 

My parents didn’t believe me when I told them I couldn’t swallow the okra.  I was gagging on this foul flavor and they weren’t buying it.  Well, it’s thirty years later and I’m sticking with my story.  Do you believe me now?  I couldn’t swallow that disturbing “food.”  And I still can’t.      

I have to be honest, every time I go home, I secretly fear that my mom or dad will make me eat okra again.  How old do you have to be before your parents can’t tell you what to eat anymore?  I’m pretty sure they’re not allowed to dictate my diet…but I’m not willing to take that chance.  I mean, if I didn’t eat my vegetables as a child, they would often save them for me and make me eat them for breakfast the following day.  It’s not a bad strategy.  It wasn’t really a battle, if I didn’t want to eat something, that was fine…it’s just that I wouldn’t eat anything else until I ate that thing…and I don’t know what I’d do if they tried to pull this one on me again with a pile of foul okra. 

“Are you going to eat that okra?”

“No, thanks.”

“You have to eat your vegetables, son.”

“Um, I’m 37 years old.”

“I know how old you are…you gonna eat those?”

“Okra is like eating a gooey spider and the very thought of it makes me wretch.”

“Oh…well, I’ll save it for you and you just let me know when you are hungry…it probably won’t be quite as good cold…for breakfast…but it’s your choice.”

So, how am I going to do it?   How will I keep this green abomination from “stalking” me?  I suppose it shouldn’t be that difficult.  It’s just a vegetable.  Clearly, I have issues to deal with.  Maybe I need professional help.  Something to stop the nightmares.  Help curing my phobia.  Perhaps hypnosis.  It certainly sounds relaxing…soothing…I can see it now…close your eyes…relax…deep breaths…you’re getting sleepy…very sleepy…and when you wake up…you’ll have to eat your okra!  NOOOOOOOOO!!!

  1. speaker7 says:

    I had a horrible experience with mustard. We did this blindfolded taste-test thingy in Kindergarten and my sadistic teacher thought it would be a good idea to shove a spoonful of mustard in my mouth. Yummy.

  2. Tom says:

    Right there with ya… not an okra fan. If you think fried okra is bad, try boiled okra. I worked in a food processing plant for a while, and I absolutely hated when we processed okra. There was slime everywhere… the floor, the machinery, my jacket. It truthfully looked like a scene out of Alien with all of this goop dripping off of everything. Ugh…

  3. #4 says:

    Can’t agree with you there – absolutely love okra; fried, pickled, whatever.
    What I don’t like and will never voluntarily eat as an adult is liver. Must be why I like onions so much because I used to smother the liver in the onions so I wouldn’t taste poison-filter-organ.
    Cant’ say I have nightmares over it, though. So you must have some deep issues. Sorry.

    • Makya McBee says:

      Speaker – I feel your pain. There’s a reason Mary Poppins didn’t sing that a spoonful of mustard helps the medicine go down.

      Tom – If I think fried okra is bad…why would I try boiled okra? Are you one of those guys that says, “This smells terrible…smell this.” I can’t imagine working in a slime factory, you’re a braver man than I.

      #4 – I do have deep issues. Deep okra issues. I have never in my life had liver. And will not start now.

  4. Whitney Soup says:

    good for you, don’t ever eat stuff you don’t want to eat! although, okra’s not so bad..

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