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A foray into the history of okra and its importance in the American South, including celebrity recipes for gumbos and stews, okra pickles, tofu, marshmallow, paper, and more.
Chris Smith's first encounter with okra was of the worst kind: slimy and fried at a greasy-spoon diner. Despite that dismal introduction, Smith developed a fascination with okra, and as he researched the plant and began to experiment with it in his own kitchen, he discovered an amazing range of delicious ways to cook and eat it, along with ingenious and surprising ways to process the plant from tip-to-tail: pods, leaves, flowers, seeds, and stalks. Obsessed and inspired, he talked okra with chefs, food historians, university researchers, farmers, homesteaders, and gardeners. The result is The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration, a roving and rich collection of okra history, lore, recipes, craft projects, growing advice, and so much more.
The Whole Okra is foremost a food-lover's handbook, but Smith also provides practical tips and techniques for home and market gardeners, including planting methods and non-food recipes. Classic recipes like fried okra pods (as well as unexpected delights like okra seed pancakes and okra flower vodka) are included, along with dishes from some of America's most beloved chefs: Okra Fries by award-winning chef Vivian Howard, Okra Soup by culinary historian Michael Twitty, Limpin' Susan by chef BJ Dennis, Bhindi Mas ala by chef Meherwan Irani, and Spicy Okra by Marcus Samuelsson.
Chris Smith is a garden writer and homesteading consultant who serves on the board of Slow Food Asheville. When he is not okra-ing he can sometimes be found at Sow True Seed, an Asheville-based, open-pollinated seed company. The Whole Okra is his first book.
- Regional author appearances (East Coast)
- Book launch in Asheville, NC
- Advance reader copies to food editors at national magazines and dailies
- Social media campaign via celebrity chef contributors' online platforms
- Digital advertising to regional and national food-focused websites and e-newsletters