Okra and Tomatoes – The Virginia House-Wife | pg. 95. | Mary Randolph
Take an equal quantity of each, let the okra be young, slice it, and skin the tomatas, put them in a pan without water, add a lump of butter, and onion chopped fine, some pepper and salt, and stew them one hour.
Gumbs – A West India Dish.
Gather young pods of okra, wash them clean, and put them in a pan with a little water, salt and pepper, stew them till tender, and serve them with melted butter. They are very nutricious and easy of digestion.
Note: Okra was flourishing in Jamaica as early as 1707 and was well known at Southern gentry dining tables by the end of the century. The second recipe is much simpler; plain butter okra but she includes it in her book nonetheless. I have included the words ‘tomatas’ and ‘nutricious’ just as MR spelled them and she spelled okra at least two different ways in her book; ‘ochra’ and ‘ocra.’
Just as Randolph recommends serving rice with her ochra soup recipe I recommend rice to accompany these dishes as well.
For the much more complex okra soup recipe of Mary Randolph’s see Dining At Monticello: In Good Taste and Abundance, edited by Damon Lee Fowler, Thomas Jefferson Foundation 2005. Page 106.