In the imaginary Pangea proposed here, they were united on a ceramic plate which carries in the clay baked at high temperature, we can think, the memory of the hot earth, heated by the magma. A dish that invites geological time to cope with the narratives that cross, sometimes violently, human time.
Nonetheless, okra and pumpkin forge specificities that they do not bear, since behind the shell that covers them with a name there is the turmoil of varieties that are sometimes programmatically forgotten. In this dish, however, variants are often brought out of commercial scope.
Okra is known by the farmer Lúcia as 7 Galho and was passed down to her by her mother, a woman with extensive knowledge of her kitchen and garden. The fruit has well-defined angulations – a star shape, when chopped – it grows like a tree, unlike others of smaller size, and has large seeds. The abóbora pescoço (long pumpkin), as farmer Vera calls it, comes from creole seeds, a resistance perpetuated by family generations and also shared by the agroecological struggles in which she actively participates. It has a gourd-like shape, a striped skin, a fibrous and moist pulp (it releases a lot of water during cooking). Together, the flavor of knowledge is added as a seasoning to this dish when it reaches the maximum degree of potency: sharing.
Speaking of sharing, in the Brazilian dish, okra and pumpkin usually go together. Almost always stewed or, as they say around Minas Gerais, “afogadinhos” (“muffled”), an expression that has always touched me in a contradictory way. If, on the one hand, it exerts over me the power to bring out primordial gustatory memories, on the other hand it gives me a kind of shiver. This is because, in the face of curiosity to know other narratives and ways of preparing it, when you ask a traditional cook how she uses a given ingredient, she will answer : “afogadinho.” That is, if you really want to learn more about this cuisine, you will need to dwell by their stove for a while or share a few liters of coffee before accessing the diverse universe of stew cooking. Moreover, generally speaking, to stew or to “muffle” (refogar ou afogar), in good Brazilian Portuguese, means to take onion and garlic to a pan with some fat and, normally afterward, to add other elements, whatever they may be.