Welcome to olives-n-okra
Olives-n-Okra is a home-cooking food blog, developed by me, Sherry. I created the blog to capture and share old and new family recipes, and to share our thoughts on all things food—books and films about food, recipes, local restaurants, food products, kitchen and cooking gadgets, and food events. Chris Nappa and Steve Smith are regular contributors, and my friend Rose Petralia contributes, too.
Why We Started olives-n-okra
A couple of years ago, while we were making Thanksgiving dinner in my kitchen, my nephew asked me if we were going to make holiday soup. I never heard of holiday soup, but we do make an Italian soup—minestra, or ah minest’ as we call it—that we traditionally serve at Thanksgiving and Christmas or on special occasions. I knew immediately that my nephew was referring to our sacred minest’, and I cringed. (I also cringed when I learned that my daughter used jarred red sauce when she made pasta.) It was clear that our long time Italian tradition of making and serving minest’ had become to my nephew’s generation simply American holiday soup (Italian Wedding Soup in restaurants and in the canned soup aisle at the supermarket—yes, canned!).
I realized then that the recipes of my grandmothers would soon be lost to history, so I got this brilliant idea (I have several of these a week) that we should write a family cookbook. We solicited recipes from everyone in the family, and my mom typed and assembled a first draft. We printed a copy for review, and it became clear that many of the recipes we collected had never been recorded and would need to be tested, revised, and tested again until they could be used by others. I often worked long hours in the tech industry, and I didn’t have the time I really needed to sort through the collection. Hence, soon after it fell into the same state as many of my other projects. It looked good on my coffee table for a few months and then it doubled as a coaster and notepad until it was nearly unrecognizable (coffee and wine stains mostly, and a few of my grandson’s scribbles). Despite our long and often unusual work hours, we cooked all the time, but we never wrote anything down. Still, I thought this project a worthy endeavor so I reinvented the project to be more manageable and accessible to family and friends. Hence, and olives-n-okra was born.