Fried Okra, Food Trucks and Forest Floors

Put some South in Yo’ Mouth

Put some South in yo’ Mouth…

Well, we finally did it. We finally made it to Hook’s Bar-B-Q. Our meals were packaged in the finest quality Styrofoam, and we were awarded bonus portions of white bread and pound cake. Yes, white bread, the type with absolutely no nutritional value; the type you can roll into cohesive, little balls for use as bait or ammo. I got two slices of white bread. My husband got three. Either he looked really hungry, or the slices were all stuck together, as is the tendency of overly processed white bread.

I got the chicken, cole slaw, and fried Okra. My husband got the pulled pork, rice, and baked beans. The barbeque sauce was served on the side. It was spicy and hot and flavorful. Now, I know that there are some Okra haters out there but I actually enjoyed mine. It was not slimy or stringy. It was crisp and tasty, but as my friend John suggested, you could batter and fry a boll weevil and it would probably be palatable. The meal was savory and satisfying, and the pound cake was fresh and buttery. It was not the best barbeque I have ever had (that was at The Salt Lick near Austin, TX) but it was full-flavored and worth the wait.

Comedienne Paula Poundstone once said,” I was born in Alabama, but I only lived there for a month before I’d done everything there was to do.” I am beginning to feel Paula’s pain. We were looking for something to do and wound up driving to Panama City, Florida to check out a (dog friendly) food truck and craft beer festival.

It was good to be outside, but winter wear was essential. It was too cold to hold a craft beer without gloves, so we did not sample as many as we would have liked to. I wanted to try something from the Curry-In-A-Hurry, Indian fare food truck. I sent my husband to make a selection while I held on to Gypsy. I was envisioning spicy, Saag Paneer. Instead, we wound up with Tandoori chicken tacos, which were interesting, but not exactly my idea of Indian cuisine.

“…climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” – John Muir 

On good days we continue to hike and explore the Conecuh National Forest. There are no scenic vistas like there are farther north. There are no real elevation changes, other than a small hill or two, and yet there are switchbacks carved into the trails, which gives us great amusement.

The impressive thing about this forest is the number of biome changes within a small area. One minute you can be traipsing through a coniferous forest, lined with long leaf pine needles, and the next minute you are knee deep in Cyprus swamp, or trekking through hardwood forest, carpeted in the decaying leaves of deciduous trees.

Sadly, there have been too many inclement days during this stay. Creative thinking is required to keep the boredom at bay. At times like this I turn to the electrifying excitement of Olympic curling or cookie baking (the cheating kind, with refrigerated dough) to stay sane. I can enjoy being curled up with a good book, but Gyspy has not yet learned to read. She insists on playtime and interaction, which requires more space than we have. My rain gear has come in handy.

Like Paula Poundstone, I think I have done everything that there is to do in Opp, but clearly, I have picked the wrong month to be here. Neither the start up of the South Alabama Speedway, nor the Rattlesnake Rodeo (it’s a real thing) are scheduled until March. In fairness, we have not been to the Honky Tonk Bar or to the Wheelhouse because of Covid, and the anti-masking sentiment that prevails in the area.

We are here at beautiful Frank Jackson State Park for another three days, but I already have Georgia on my mind.

Stay tuned…

2 thoughts on “Fried Okra, Food Trucks and Forest Floors

  1. Alabama hasn’t quite made it to my bucket list, but that forest looks beautiful. I’d enjoy a leisurely hike without the elevation gain, just taking it all in…

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