This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
Well-known American vegetable, the seed pods of a plant like a hollyock which grows from 4 to 6 feet high. There are two varieties grown for market; the best bears the short, thick, green pods which remain tender longer than the other kind, which are long, pale green, slender and wiry. Few people, perhaps none, like the taste or appearance of cooked okra at first, but the liking grows so that no vegetable is more welcome to the people of the South than this, not excepting asparagus or peas. It cooks to a sort of mucilage, if prepared to the Creole taste, that is stewed in very little water. Where this is considered an objection it is cooked in plenty of water, salted, and the mucilage is not then so apparent.
The young and tender pods cut off at each end, washed, boiled in salted water about 3/4 hour, the water poured off; butter, pepper, little more salt mixed in by tipping up the vessel; okra served without breaking it in vegetable dishes.
The young pods trimmed, simmered in just enough water to cover with little salt, and buttered paper under the lid. When soft, a few spoonfuls olive oil and a minced red or green pepper shaken in; served as a vegetable.
Gumbo soups, and okra and tomato soups.