Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25: National Strawberry Parfait Day and National Fried Okra Day

National Strawberry Parfait Day

I love strawberries and, except for when I microwave frozen strawberries for breakfast, I love to eat them fresh and raw.  So any dessert that uses strawberry in such a manner is a winner with me.

Like with most foods, the parfait has strayed from its original form.  Apparently, parfaits are supposed to be made with ice cream, mousse, or pudding.  This completely surprises me - I've always considered parfaits to be made with yogurt or whipped cream.  For me, a strawberry parfait is alternating layers of vanilla yogurt with fresh strawberries, maybe with a little honey drizzled on top of the strawberries.  According to Wikipedia, my type of parfait is typical of parfaits in the Northern United States, while other American parfaits are made with parfait creams, ice cream and gelatin desserts.  (I've heard of Jello parfaits which are whipped cream and flavored Jello cubes, so you get a visually pleasing dessert.)

Of course, French parfait is completely different than American parfait, so whenever I make it to France, I'll have to order a parfait while I'm there.

In the course of looking up information about strawberry parfaits, I learned that parfait means "perfect" in French.  I'll probably go around haughtily remarking, "Parfay.  Tray parfay" in what will probably be the worse French accent EVER, since I've only ever known three French people and I've never been to France.

I'll have to do it around one of my French friends, so they can correct my accent and pronounciation until it is parfait.  (Sorry, couldn't help it.)

National Fried Okra Day

Hey, look!  A food observance honoring a vegetable!  What a rarity!

Of course, it gets fried which negates any good it might do for you.  Fried okra is definitely a Southern food.  I still haven't brought myself to try it, because I'm not a huge fan of frying vegetables, but one day I might try it.

Even though California does not have a huge market for okra, nor does it devote much acreage to okra, it ranks as third in okra production.  The top spot goes to Texas which is followed by Georgia.  Florida rounds out the top four.  Actually, it seems Florida and California vie for third place, since some switch the two around.  An internationally, of the countries allowed to send okra to the US, India leaves every other country in the dust.  Surprisingly, finding information about okra production in the US is harder than finding production facts about anything else.  Everything seems way out of date. 

Okra is related to the mallow, which may explain its gooey texture.  Okra has its origins in Africa, most likely Ethiopia.

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