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Every meat-and-3 menu and just about every lunchroom of any kind in the South offers fried okra as a vegetable choice. The usual presentation is bite-size pieces that have been rolled in cornmeal and deep-fried. The combination of crunchy crust and soft, sticky vegetable is a Dixie paradigm, impossible to upgrade. The one variation, more common in upscale restaurants with aspiring chefs, is to bread and fry whole okra pods, which are used as much as a garnish for other dishes as a stand-alone vegetable side dish.