Yoga in India a thousand—or even fifty!—years ago looked nothing like the commercial venture that is now an integral part of mainstream America.
When I first heard the term ‘yoga’ it was reported as another one of those wacky activities the Beatles enjoyed. Classes were rare outside of L.A. and New England, and the women who participated wore leotards and tights--the standard costume for any athletic endeavor back then (except for Jack LaLanne’s jumpsuit).
There were no pricey yoga pants or crop tops, no blocks or bolsters or soothing music. There was no trademarked "style" of yoga, with certification fees and franchise fees and lawsuits galore. There was just yoga, practiced once by the curious and regularly by the intellectual descendants of Emerson and Thoreau.
The commercialization of an ancient and honorable practice bugs me. Just how many styles of yoga have been created in the past ten years? How much money have pseudo-gurus made by declaring that the left pinky finger should always be crooked during asanas and naming an entirely new style of yoga after themselves to push this bold innovation?
And how can I get in on this wealth machine?
Folks, I am humbled and pleased to announce that I have founded a style of yoga that will bring you peace, make you thin, and lead you to a full understanding of your true precious Self. I call it Okra Flow Yoga ™.
The first public information about Okra Flow Yoga ™ was just published in Glossy News. You can read it by clicking on Okra Flow Yoga ™ Brings Enlightenment to the Deep South—and Beyond!
But a funny thing happened on the way to publication at Glossy News: I first sent this satirical piece to a humor journal. Not a Southern humor journal. It was rejected, with this comment from the editor: "This was clever and extremely well-written, but...this could come off as elitist because the joke is centered around a food that is popular in poor and/or minority communities."
I can only shake my head and think Bless her heart.
Okra crosses the socio-economic barrier. We ALL eat it! Any Southerner who doesn’t love okra just hasn’t eaten it the way I make it. (That’s what every Southerner will say if you dare admit that you don’t like okra.)
Margaret Maron, author of the Deborah Knott novels, kindly shared her recipe with me, and I’m blabbing to the whole world.
Margaret Maron’s Fried Okra
Most people can't stand okra in any form. Others think that two or three slices in vegetable soup are enough to call it Gumbo and that's a gracious plenty, too. But before you write okra off your menu completely, you really need to try it fried, Colleton County NC style. And no, I'm not talking about those hard circles caked in gummy cornmeal that show up in "homestyle" restaurants around here.
Thaw a small package of frozen sliced okra. Rinse with cool water, and place in a bowl. Make sure the okra is wet but not actually standing in water, then stir in enough self-rising flour to make a batter that's a little thicker than cake batter. Add a few drops of extra water if necessary. Coat all the okra evenly.
In the meantime, heat canola oil to the smoking point in a large iron frying pan, turn the battered okra into the hot oil and break apart so that it's only two or three slices deep. The batter will immediately crisp and puff around the okra. As it browns, fish it out with a slotted spoon into a colander to drain. Lightly salt and serve in a bowl lined with paper towels to remove any extra oil. Fried ambrosia!