Hey Foodies, Can You Help A Brother Out?

by Kevin Burton

   Do you know people who may ask you a question about something but will do whatever they please no matter what your answer may be?

   Do you work for, or did you perhaps marry someone like that?

   Well you may place me in their camp ever so briefly today. Today I’m talking to the foodies out there. I will raise a few questions without committing necessarily to following your prescriptions.

   Look, I know my way around the kitchen. I know where the double chocolate Hostess Donettes are kept and how many I can eat without my wife noticing. I’m dead familiar with the major Shake and Bake varieties.

   It’s remarkably rare that I set off the smoke detector more than once or twice in a given calendar week.

   I promise you I am no slouch. Nevertheless there are some mysteries that are beyond me. So I am asking for help from the more food knowledgeable in the hope that we will all learn from the dialogue.

   My first question: can gumbo be gumbo if you leave out the okra?

   I sure hope so.

    According to kitchensubstitute.com okra is a popular vegetable in the South but can be hard to find in other parts of the country.

    This appears to be a useful website but I would have liked more specifics, such as where, God please tell me where, I can go in this country to escape from okra!

  Okra is slimy and tasteless and doesn’t really qualify as what I would call, strictly speaking, food.

  The website does helpfully list 13 things you can substitute for okra in gumbo. Wait, there are 12. Green beans are listed twice. Some of the others are broccoli, asparagus, zucchini and corn starch.

   They also list arrowroot, which I have never heard of but sounds like something Granny would cook up for Jed, Jethro and Elly May.

   Yummly.com has approximately 4.2 zillion gumbo-without-okra recipes on its site.  That is a promising place for future culinary research.

   Speaking of research, according to researchers, 25 percent of people think cilantro, also called coriander, tastes like dish soap.     

   “Most people perceive coriander as having a tart, lemon/lime taste, but to nearly a quarter of those surveyed, the leaves taste like dish soap.” according to Wikipedia. “The perception of a soapy taste in certain aldehydes is linked to a specific gene.”

   OK, may I deduce then, that fully one quarter of the population has ingested dish soap to the point that they are familiar with the taste? 

   Foodies, if I am fresh out of coriander/cilantro (as I believe I am at the moment), and the dinner guests are on the way, may I simply substitute dish soap?  If so, should I use a dish soap with a lemony scent? Would this enhance the presentation of my dish?

   These sorts of things are not covered on the shows on Food Network and I don’t know why. Seems to me it would be a great advertising sales opportunity. You know, use some of our soap in the dinner and use the rest to clean up afterward. What am I missing?

   Moving on to dessert, Haagen Dazs used to have an ice cream variety called Coffee Mocha Chip.  That friends, was a delight worth fighting over, if you found yourself in the frozen foods section and both you and another shopper are eyeing the last tub of it .

   Or it could be a “meet cute” as they say in the movie biz, where boy meets girl, each with one hand on the last tub of the coveted treat. Hilarity ensues followed quickly by romance.

   Well, when I moved from Ohio to Kansas I stopped seeing the Coffee Mocha Chip product. I figured it was regional, or discontinued or both. I spent years mourning the loss.

   Now I see there is a product called Coffee Chip by Haagen Dazs, without the word Mocha. I did not see it in a store, but on Amazon.

   Foodies, is this the same product I knew and loved?  Can you take out mocha and leave in coffee? Technically mocha is a fancy-pants kind of coffee right?  Would that make coffee mocha chip redundant?

   Or was the word mocha just marketing here? If so, not enough people were allured by it, as the company removed it. 

   Meanwhile, thinking I would never see my beloved Coffee Mocha Chip in this lifetime (surely it will be in Heaven), I asked my wife Jeannette, a world-renowned authority on all things ice cream, to purchase for me a box of Favorite Day Java Chunk at Target.

     Though the “chunks” are chocolate slivers, this product it turns out is a reasonable substitute for the Haagen Dazs. Or should I wait to say this until I taste the Coffee (Not Mocha) Chip?

   Or maybe I should just go back to bologna sandwiches and Cheetos. Got me through third grade OK. What do you think foodies?

Join the Conversation


  1. LOL! Ocre is only good when fried and very hot. Once it cools, yuck! Don’t want it in my gumbo. Cilantro, well my jury’s still out but I don’t think dish soap will do as a substitute. (Giggle) As for the last, now we’re getting serious. I don’t know the name brand but I did recently come across a coffee chocolate chip ice cream that is awesome! The chocolate if many very small pieces of the kind of chocolate that usually covers ice cream bars. The brand starts with a t I think. Great stuff. Now do with all of that what you like. (Smirk)

    Tracy Duffy tlduffy1962@gmail.com




  2. Okay dude. I know some of your questions are facetious which I find surprising here. 🙂

    But I do have answers for two serious and worthwhile questions. I too find okra slimy and disgusting, but that does not stop me from making gumbo. Do not put in fresh okra, use gumbo filet powder. That is dried okra made into a powder. It does the same thing as Arrowroot and cornstarch, both handy in stews. It does not import greasy residue to the gumbo. Try it (and yes, filet gumbo is referred to in Hank William’s song).

    As for ice cream, I am shocked that a former Cincinnati boy did not turn immediately to Graeter’s – simply the best ice cream in the world and made fresh in Cincinnati. It is expensive but worth it and they ship dependably. And yes, they do have a mocha chip variety. Well, two foodie questions answered anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

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