INDIAN RIVER KITCHEN
okra with a
full of love
Grandmother’s recipe conjures up fond
memories of early Florida days
Every time I open one of my grandma’s cookbooks,
I’m back in her kitchen. I swear I can smell fried
mullet when I turn the pages. Sometimes scraps of
paper fall out with notes from my grandpa: “Mom, Gone
to pick up Fred. Love, Dad.” I treasure these more than the
actual recipes. My grandma, Polly Summerlin Moore, never
followed recipes anyway. She might look at them for ideas or
to jog her memory, but then she closed the book and cooked.
I started helping her in the kitchen as soon as I could stand
on a barstool. By helping, I mean I ate cookies and listened to
her stories about growing up in St. Lucie Village.
Looking back, all her stories were about food. Her house
was surrounded by over a dozen fruit trees. She and her
brother climbed them and ate to their hearts’ content. She
fished in the river with her father. She ate juicy “turpentine”
mangoes with her cousins, which gave them all rashes. She
weeded her mother’s vegetable garden and popped radishes
in her mouth when no one was looking.
One of her favorite garden vegetables was okra. It’s a
beautiful plant with flowers that look like its relative, hibiscus.
It thrives in Florida gardens, even in the hottest months of the
BY DANIELLE ROSE
MARY ANN SHAMBACH
Family recipes passed down from her grandma are the secret to the success of
the Summerlin clan as, left to right, Astor Summerlin, Polly Summerlin Moore,
Margaret Summerlin, and Bob Terry Jr. fry fish and hushpuppies for a crowd.