Thursday, March 8, 2007

Observations of Oklahoma

People in Oklahoma are very friendly. Going to Walmart or Kmart is a social event. I went to Walmart to buy two items (i.e., t-shirt, socks), and I ended up staying almost two hours socializing with ‘long lost friends’ and making new friends. I was bragging to some California friends how great it was to be able to get across Enid (my home town) in 15 minutes, even at rush hour; but what I did not factor into the equation is the 60+ minutes I must stay at each place in Oklahoma to do the obligatory socializing. Even stopping for gas can result in obligatory socializing (“It sure is a purty day today” "I sure do you like your pickup").

Speaking of socializing, in Oklahoma we even do it on the highways. We generally acknowledge other vehicles with a wave, two-finger wave, and/or head nod. When I first moved to Los Angeles, I had to break myself of the habit of acknowledging other drivers as people thought I was giving them ‘the finger.’

Well, I have to admit, the names of businesses in Oklahoma were not quite as exciting as the ones in North Carolina, but in my hometown (Enid), there is a business named Knotty Rugs & Nice Furniture :) ... Oh, a bar named Crappy's.

If you ever make it to Oklahoma, one thing you will notice is the love for anything fried and gravy. For breakfast today (I am in Oklahoma as I type), I had biscuits and sausage gravy. For lunch, I had chicken strips, French fries, roll, and gravy. And then I came home to my mom’s infamous, tasty, breaded and fried pork chops covered in gravy accompanied by mashed potatoes and gravy, with a side of corn (no gravy). For those who do not know how gravy is made in Oklahoma, it is essentially leftover grease (from sausage this morning, from fried chicken and pork chops later in the day) mixed in with some processed flour and milk. You see, in Oklahoma we don’t want to waste anything. Got some grease? Just add flour and milk, and now your boring old hamburger steak is a delicacy. Want to really spice it up? Well, then first you fry up some bacon just so you can get the grease to fry chicken or chicken fried steak (which is really beef, not chicken).

By the way, fried food is not limited to meat. We also have fried vegetables (okra topping the list), fried taters (that would be potatoes - and yes, I know they are a vegetable), fried eggs, fried ice cream, and shucks, many people even fry their biscuits, toast, and cornbread in a skillet instead of the oven. Grease is definitely one of the major food groups in Oklahoma. Okies (as well as those from the South East) love grease so much, that it is either (1) poured in a coffee can or jar by the stove to use later, OR (2) left it in the pan and put it in the oven for the next time the person is cooking.

Another thing about Oklahoma is that the wind seems to always be blowing or gusting. Here in Los Angeles, the winds do not blow THAT much in comparison to Oklahoma. In actuality, it is such a novelty in Los Angeles, that Angelinos even name the gusty wind (e.g., “The Santa Ana winds sure are blowing today”). In Oklahoma, winds aren’t named because it would take too much effort to name them all. “Well, the Billy Joe Bob wind sure is gusting today” or “The Mary Sue Lynn wind is sure flurrying”. I did hear one explanation for why it is so windy in Oklahoma. Specifically, I was told that Texas sucks and Kansas blows, but that seems a bit tacky, so I won't post that (for those who are geographically challenged, OK is between TX and KS).


Chelsia said...

Good words.

Dinora said...

Mmmm...I'm going to have to visit Oklahoma someday. I love mashed potatoes and gravy. When I go to Claim Jumpers, I always order loaded mashed potatoes with extra gravy on the side....yummy!!! LOL. My body sometimes craves greasy foods, and I always head to KFC when that happens. lol.