For many of us, the holidays mean the return of special foods, those favorite family dishes that hold special meaning. They’re the once-a-year treats that help tie families together and offer reminders of those who came before. Without these dishes on the holiday table, the season just wouldn’t be the same.

We asked our readers to share some of their favorite holiday treats. They replied with recipes that would bring grace to any holiday table. We thought you might want the main course — whether it’s turkey, ham, lamb, beef or goose — to represent your family’s tradition, so here’s another dish you can use to expand your holiday table and to incorporate some of the traditions of your neighbors.

Fried okra

Submitted by Gabriel Sterling of Sandy Springs

Gabriel Sterling

Getting young kids to eat vegetables can often be problematic. I was no different when I was young. I did have one that I loved, though. I was a big fan of popcorn. So to get me to eat a certain veggie, my grandmother used to tell me it was “green popcorn.” The vegetable that my grandmother tricked me into eating was fried okra.

Fried okra remains a staple side dish for football and holiday season in our family’s home. It is not difficult, but requires focus and a bit of cleanup.

Chop fresh okra (smaller pieces tend to be more tender) into about ½ inch pieces. Discard the caps (some fry those as well; I don’t). Place okra pieces in a bowl.


In a bowl, mix

½ cup of cornmeal mix

½ cup of all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon of salt

black pepper


In a separate bowl, mix

1 large egg

½ cup of milk

1 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce

Canola or vegetable oil

Pour canola oil or vegetable oil into a large frying pan (preferably cast iron). Use enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan with a layer ¼-inch deep. Set the stove on medium high. After a few minutes, place a fork in the dredge and get a few drops on it and drop it in the oil. If it immediately beads to the top of the oil and begins to crackle, the oil is ready for frying.

Take a handful of the chopped okra and coat with the dredge. Transfer the dredged okra to the coating bowl. Fully coat and transfer to frying pan.

Allow to fry until brown on one side, use fryer scoop to turn and move the okra until it is golden brown on all sides. Drain the fried okra on a plate covered with the paper towels, to remove excess grease. Repeat until all of the okra is fried. Regulate the heat. Lowering the heat may be necessary if the oil becomes overheated.

Salt and pepper to flavor and serve hot. Tell the kids it’s “green popcorn.”

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.